May 2005 Archives

The Queen Of Hearts

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The Observer | Review | Jacqueline Wilson: 'My inner age is between 10 and 40'

Extensive profile of Jacqueline Wilson by Kate Kellaway:

She is often described as resembling a goth granny or a witch but I see her as a short-sighted (eyes sparkling behind specs) good fairy... ...

Highly Recommended

Pictures from last week's Laureate announcement:

Guest speaker Sir Christopher Frayling of the Arts Council; JW; James Heneage; Chris Meade; Nicolette Jones

Three of the past four Laureates together (Anne Fine being the missing laureate)

The three young competition winners who won the chance to meet the new Laureate

Nicolette Jones, in her brief address at the Laureate presentation, called Jacqueline Wilson a 'Queen of Hearts'

I had the great pleasure of chairing a conscientious, authoritative and thoughtful selection panel, a fine bunch of people, namely Sharon Sperling of the Youth Libraries Group, critic John Mullan, academic Kim Reynolds and booksellers James Kerr and Wayne Winstone. They took very seriously their responsibilities to the Laureateship, to literature and to children, and we had a long and impassioned debate which was evidence not of dissatisfaction with the final choice but of the calibre of the contenders. The good news for the future of the Laureateship is that worthy candidates appear to be in no danger of running out.

We all know that Picasso spent a lifetime learning to draw like a child. JW�s hard-learned lifetime�s skill is to sound like a child. She performs the rare and difficult feat of tackling deep emotions and harsh realities in a clear and simple and entertaining child�s voice to which enormous numbers of children respond. She offers them hope, empathy and humour, has an unequalled rapport with her existing readers and unequalled potential to make new readers. She is already a tireless ambassador for the joy of reading and so widely loved as to have made herself already something of an honorary Laureate. She is deservedly, among children�s authors, a Queen of Hearts... ...


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The Observer | Review | Burnt offerings

'Pre-Teen' Fiction reviews from The Observer...

ST Book Of The Week

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Children's book of the week - Sunday Times - Times Online

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

Lobster Boy by Rodman Philbrick

This book demonstrates Philbrick�s skill as an award-winning thriller writer for adults and, like his acclaimed Freak the Mighty, it is also emotionally affecting.

Market Forces

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Telegraph | Opinion | Harry Potter and the market forces

Sarah Sands, writng in the Telgraph:

The world of publishing has become one of the most free and competitive of markets. The reward for risk is vast. I intend to bore my grandchildren with the story of a pleasant publicity woman from Bloomsbury who begged me to write something about a charming, but hopelessly uncommercial, children's book called Harry Potter and how I grudgingly obliged. The convention at that time was that there was no money in children's books. Now the adult market struggles to keep pace.

Sands' adult novel, Hothouse, is published by Macmillan

Rainbow Controversy

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'Educational' smut - The Washington Times: Commentary - May 28, 2005

Michelle Malkin criticises the content of a new teen novel about oral sex orgies:

Here's a rich irony: I'm writing today about a new children's book, but I can't describe the plot in a family newspaper without warning you first that it is entirely inappropriate for children.
The book is Rainbow Party by juvenile fiction author Paul Ruditis...

Note the negative one-star reviews on - mostly from parents...

Not At Her Best

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Review: The Unrivalled Spangles by Karen Wallace

Nicola Morgan doesn't find Karen Wallace writing at her best in The Unrivalled Spangles...

the main characters seem imperfectly nailed down. I found myself having to re-read sections to understand why a character said something. Ellen's "But Edward's a gentleman! I can't possibly meet him on my own," contradicts her determination on the previous page to do just that. Her "So I'm a circus girl with ideas above her station?" is a non sequitur. Lucy's endearing contrition and fragility on one occasion near the beginning feel incongruous against her relentless fury and strength during the rest of her story. And some characters' reactions to the shocking incident in the middle of the book simply didn't ring true for me. Effort spent trying to decipher dissonant behaviour or dialogue spoil the smoothness of an otherwise well-oiled ride.

Since I haven't read this book yet, I can't comment on this review, other than to observe, in Wallace's defence, that characters behave inconsistently all the time in real life and I imagine her response to the observations above would be, "So... ...?"

New Children's Laureate

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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts | Wilson is new Children's Laureate

Author Jacqueline Wilson is the new Children's Laureate... ...

The award winning children's writer Jacqueline Wilson was announced yesterday as the fourth Children's Laureate sponsored by Ottakar's. The announcement was made by Sir Christopher Frayling, Chairman of Arts Council England and Rector of The Royal College of Art, at a ceremony at BAFTA, Piccadilly, London at 7pm tThursday 26th May. Jacqueline Wilson was presented with the Children�s Laureate medal and a bursary of �10,000.

Jacqueline Wilson has been on countless shortlists and has won many awards including the Smarties Prize, and the Children's Book Award. The Illustrated Mum won the Guardian Children's Fiction Award, the Children's Book of the Year at the British Book Awards and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children�s Book of the Year in 1999. Girls in Tears won the Children's Book of the Year Award in 2003. The Story of Tracy Beaker won the 2002 Blue Peter People's Choice Award. Jacqueline was recently announced as the most borrowed author in UK libraries for the second year running.

BBC Newsroaund (audiolink)


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The ACHUKA desk will be closed Monday through to Friday as I shall not have access to the internet during that time. Will try and catch up retrospectively on my return.

ST Book Of The Week

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Children's book of the week - Sunday Times - Times Online

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

Face Value by Catherine Johnson

an intelligent murder mystery with a realistic sense of how exploitative the fashion industry can be... This is a book about friendship, falling in love, corrupt old men who mistreat young girls and, memorably, London: it is full of detail of real places � street markets, trendy watering holes, gangland haunts, Thameside beaches and arts venues... NICOLETTE JONES

ACHUKA is delighted that this excellent novel has received the ST Book of the Week endorsement. Look out for an ACHUKA interview with the author very shortly.

Stone Age Inconvenience

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Books - reviews and literary news from The Times and The Sunday Times

Michelle Paver describes how Wolf Brother has taken readers back in time I�m often asked why I stopped writing for adults and wrote Wolf Brother �for children�. I didn�t. In fact, I never planned to write it at all, and when the story took hold, it was inconvenient. I was under the gun to write the third part of an historical trilogy, and I had no time to spare for anything, let alone a six-book series about Stone Age hunter-gatherers.

Achieving The Effects

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Review: Riding Tycho by Jan Mark

Adele Geras gives Jan Mark's Riding Tycho a rave review:

What is remarkable about this story is the way Mark achieves her effects. By the time we reach the end, we feel we've lived on High Island all our lives. There are no long descriptions. The language is plain and strong, full of relishable words and images, and the characterisation is very skilfully done. You are never told. You are shown, and in the most economical way possible. Similarly, emotions and feelings are understated but somehow become more powerful because of this restraint. There are no histrionics. We are taught, but in the most subtle way possible. We identify with Demetria completely.

Chorion Control

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Literary rights firm Chorion has high hopes for its new TV series based on the Mr Men series of children's books after gaining full control of the brand in a ?1.5m deal...

Eva Ibbotson Feature

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The ghostly and the ghastly - Books - Times Online

Missed at the weekend, and therefore also excluded from the latest Update, was this page of reviews in The Times, which included a half-page profile of Eva Ibbotson. So it was a good weekend for Macmillan's star octogenarian. Children's Book Of The Week in the Sunday Times, and fulsome praise from Amanda Craig here in Saturday's Times.

Mahy Biography

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STUFF : ENTERTAINMENT : BOOKS - STORY : New Zealand's leading news and information website

A feature article about a biography of New Zealand author Margaret Mahy...


ST Book Of The Week

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Children's book of the week - Sunday Times - Times Online

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

The Beasts Of Clawstone Castle by Eva Ibbotson

Ibbotson is dextrous with pace and suspense, accessible, always amusing, and a treat to read aloud, and the book is both joyously light-hearted and profoundly good-hearted. NICOLETTE JONES

Cub Launch Event

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Thumping Good Story

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Red rebellion

Philip Ardagh reviews Eleanor Updale's latest Montmorency adventure, Montomorency And The Assassins

Montmorency and the Assassins is a thumping good story told with consummate skill. There's pace, action, excitement and humour, with characters you really care about. PHILIP ARDAGH

Scottish Book Of The Year Award

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Kelman shortlisted for book of the year award - The Herald

Also on the shortlist are three children's books, Space Pirates and The Treasures of Salmagundy by Scoular Anderson, Skarrs by Catherine Forde and Sleepwalking by Nicola Morgan. They will vie for the Children's Book of the Year prize. The winners are to be announced on June 9 at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh.

Publishing News - News Page

THE CHRYSALIS GROUP has announced its intention to dispose of its children's and promotional books businesses...

2005 Tir na n-0g shortlist

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The following titles have been nominated for this year�s 2005 Tir na n-0g shortlist:

Best English-language Title

In Chatter Wood, Jac Jones (Pont Books)
Nat, Margaret Jones (Pont Books)
The Seal Children, Jackie Morris (Frances Lincoln)
Turning Points in Welsh History 1485�1914, Stuart Broomfield, Euryn Madoc-Jones (University of Wales Press)

Best Welsh-language Fiction

Eco, Emily Huws (Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion)
Graffiti, Angharad Devonald (Dref Wen)
Gwas y Stabl, Mair Wynn Hughes (Gomer)
I�r Tir Tywyll, Elgan Philip Davies (Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion)

Best Welsh-language non-fiction

Byd Llawn Hud (Gwasg Gomer)
Chwyldro! Chwyldro?, Robin Evans (Canolfan Astudiaethau Addysg)
Dwli o Ddifri, Ceri Wyn Jones (Gwasg Gomer)
Hen Wragedd a Ffyn ac Eira Gwyn, gol. Myrddin ap Dafydd (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)

Author Death

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AP Wire | 05/10/2005 | Knutson, award-winning children's author, dies at 45

Barbara Knutson, an award-winning author and illustrator of children's books, has died of a rare autoimmune deficiency. She was 45.

Knutson, who died Saturday, specialized in folk tales and the art of bookmaking.

Boy Soldier

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Telegraph | Arts | Bravo for boys

Feature article about Andy McNab (author of Boy Soldier), published in the Telegraph six days ago, just located...

"I didn't really think about it as a kids' book. I just did it," McNab says, with typical matter-of-factness. "What surprised me was how much you could put in there. You can have drug-taking, or getting drunk, or unprotected sex, as long as it's part of the story. The only thing you can't do with a 17-year-old hero is have him killing people."


Hans Chirstian Andersen

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Once upon a time . . . - Times 2 - Times Online

A. S. Byatt on Hans Christian Andersen:

Like many great children�s writers and tale-tellers, he was someone who never grew up. He lived in a world of story and irreality to make his life bearable. And he made his life into a barely real story.

He was a great writer, and his greatness is not limited to what he does to the imaginations of successive generations of children... ...


CLPE Poetry Award Shortlist

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CLPE Poetry Award 2005 shortlist

John Agard & Grace Nichols (editors): From Mouth to Mouth


James Berry: Only One of Me


Seamus Cashman (editor): Something Beginning with P
(O�Brien Press)


Stephen Knight: Sardines


Roger McGough (editor): Sensational!(Macmillan)


Adrian Mitchell: Daft as a Doughnut

Brian Moses (compiler): Blood and Roses - British History in Poetry


The winner of the 2005 CLPE Poetry Award will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall on June 6th 2005. The judges are Valerie Bloom and Tony Mitton, and the judging panel is chaired by Margaret Meek Spencer.
The CLPE Poetry Award, for a book of poetry for children, was launched by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education in 2003 and is sponsored by Mr and Mrs Pye's Charitable Foundation.

Louisa May Alcott

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VOA News - Louisa May Alcott

A Voice Of America presentation about the author of 'Little Women' with mp3 sound downloads & transcript...


ST Book Of The Week

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Children's book of the week - Sunday Times - Times Online

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

Meggie Moon by Elizabeth Baguley

Without being inaccessible or complicated, this book is clever and subtle, and, like Meggie, it promotes girl power without being boring for boys. NICOLETTE JONES

Being A Soldier

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Review: When I Was a Soldier by Valerie Zenatti

Diane Samuels reviews <em>When I was A Soldier by Valerie Zenatti:

...paints an illuminating portrait of what it is to be a young woman maturing in a society where violent conflict is as much a feature of "normal" life as longing for love, loud music and trips to the beach.

Young Designer

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Globetechnology: Teen wins U.S. Web design contest

America's youngest Web wizard is a 14-year-old in northern Nebraska. That would be Danika Young of Atkinson Junior High School, who won the title as part of a nationwide contest. Her winning entry: a website that serves as a study guide for "Maniac Magee," an award-winning children's book.

Shanville Monthly

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Darren Shan Monthly 58

The May edition of Darren Shan's monthly online newsletter

Comics Article

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Bye Bye The SLush Pile

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Notes from the Slush Pile

No More Mrs Slushpile Editor Rachel Wade explains to the SCBWI Professional Series in London how the editor-author relationship is slowly changing as publishers close down their slush piles

Published in the Spring 2005 edition of Words & Pictures, the journal of SCBWI, British Isles Region.

For Guys

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"Guys Write for Guys Read," an anthology available from Viking this month, is the measurable result of Scieszka's call to arms. More than 75 of the children's book industry's finest authors and illustrators donated stories and art, without compensation, to create the ultimate introduction to work for guys, by guys.

Eoin Colfer Feature

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Eoin Colfer shares secrets about his popular series and its title character during Houston book signings...

ST Book Of The Week

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Children's book of the week - Sunday Times - Times Online

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

Septimus Heap by Angie Sage

A fat book set in a magical world in which children grow up unaware of their real identities may not sound like anything new, but picturebook veteran Sage�s first full-length novel makes this old territory fresh. She has a light touch and a sense of humour, and her yarn scoots along like a dragon-boat with the wind in its sails. NICOLETTE JONES

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