June 2005 Archives

Alex Rider Actor

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Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Teenager Unveiled as Superspy Star of Stormbreaker

The search for a young actor to play Alex Rider, the hero of Anthony Horowitz�s books about a teenage superspy, is over.

Movie bosses today unveiled 15-year-old Alex Pettyfer as the star of their �25 million blockbuster.

Pettyfer has appeared on screen only once before, in the ITV1 adaptation of Tom Brown�s Schooldays, shown on New Year�s Day.

Author Of The Month

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Author of the month: Eoin Colfer

Dina Rabinovitch's author of the month in ysterday's Guardian was Eoin Colfer:

He has it down to a routine - four months away from the family, six months at home, two months all together on holiday. "I met Terry Pratchett, a big hero of mine, at some awards ceremony. I ran out after him, thinking, 'Oh my God, this is such stalker behaviour', and I said, 'Excuse me Mr Pratchett', and I explained who I was, and he said, 'I've heard about you - you don't like to tour'.

"And he said: 'In the early 1980s there were four, five big sci-fi writers that came out of the UK and made it big; there's only two of us left now, because we toured.' He said, 'You have to tour, you have to meet your public.' And then he swept away, and I was looking after his limo, calling, 'OK, Mr Pratchett, I'll tour.' "

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New York City

Newsday article which asks "Will teens still be wild about Harry?"

as intense as it was for the last one, perhaps because the release date is still three weeks away.

"I'm just not feeling the urgency," Uhl said. "The anticipation is there but it's not with the older readers as much as it is with the younger readers." Still, the 200 people who signed up for her midnight Harry Potter party is about the same as for the last book release.

At Once Upon a Story in Long Beach, Calif., about 100 people have pre-ordered the new book, about half of whom will pick it up at midnight -- again similar to the last book, said store owner Julee Morris.


Turkish Dead List

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Child literature experts and authors reacted against the exclusion of all living authors from the "100 Temel Eser" (100 Rudimentary Works) that the Turkish Education Ministry has recommended for primary school students.

Andersen Bicentennial

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Scotsman.com News - Features - Hans that rocked the cradles

A feature from The Scotsman about Hans Christian Andersen, detailing some of the bicentennial events taking place at the Edinburgh Book Festival and elsewhere in the city during the summer and autumn...

youngsters will look forward to the autumn exhibition at the Museum of Childhood - Once Upon A Time: Hans Christian Andersen and Fairy Tales - and to the production of Thumbelina on the Fringe that will take the audience out on to the Water of Leith. They will also undoubtedly enjoy the season of Andersen-related films at the Filmhouse in October and the three Andersen-based performances that are expected at next year's Children's Festival. But their parents might be surprised to find how much they get out of Andersen too. At the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, for example, a panel of distinguished Danish authors will seek to get to the core of Andersen's vast body of work. At around the same time at the Danish Cultural Institute, there will be a touring exhibition from Odense of Andersen's letters, portraits and personal belongings. That will be followed in September by a display of Andersen-inspired design and costumes by no lesser personage than Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. And at the Usher Hall in November, the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union is making a musical contribution to the celebrations.

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

Hitler's Canary by Sandy Toksvig

Comedian Toksvig bases this serious book on her Danish father�s experience as a teenager. HitleAr�s Canary is about a family in Copenhagen under Nazi occupation, and the remarkable refusal of many Danes to allow Jewish compatriots to be taken away. NICOLETTE JONES

Tenderly Observed

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Theatre of the mind

Joanna Carey reviews Tales of Hans Christian Andersen as illustrated by Joel Stewart

Within the often disturbing bleakness of the stories, the children Stewart draws are tenderly observed: they have a touching, down-to-earth gravity and, while there's very little detail, every stance, every gesture is eloquent. Hands are particularly expressive, as in "The Wild Swans" when the young princes are magically transformed. In "The Snow Queen" we see Kay gazing through an ice block that he clutches with frozen fingers - it's a haunting image that reflects the spirit rather than the letter of the text... ...


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BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Children urged to use word power

A scheme which helps children grow in confidence by putting books at the centre of life has been launched. Books, Reading and Writing (Braw) has been set up to showcase Scottish children's authors and illustrators.

The project, run by the Scottish Book Trust, will support festivals, book tours and career development using Scottish Arts Council lottery funds... ...

Lian Hearn

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Short report of an appearance by Lian Hearn in the UK last weekend...

Imagining Dahl

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Life with the Big Jokey Giant - Arts - Times Online

Alan Yentob, writing about Roald Dahl in yesterday's Times, ahead of screeninf of tonight's documentary in the Imagine series:

Fantastic Mr Dahl, Alan Yentob�s portrait of the author in his Imagine series, is screened on BBC One tonight at 10.40pm. The Roald Dahl Museum is at Great Missenden, Bucks (01494 892192)

Punishing Insouciance

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Dahl's stern morality gives his work the edge - Arts - Times Online

Modern children�s fiction is full of bullies being defeated, punished, made fun of, even tumbled into mud or stagnant ponds. But, apart from the odd moment of, say, Malfoy being transformed into a bouncing ferret, it is hard to think of anyone who is willing to punish awful children with such gleeful and imaginative insouciance as Dahl did.

Nocolette Jones, writing in The Times yesterday, alongside Alan Yentob's piece, blogged above, and putting it rather well, I thought...

Highly Recommended

Getting It On At Book Club

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EducationGuardian.co.uk | eG weekly | The children's laureate

Jacqueline Wilson, Laureate, writing in The Guardian's 'My Favourite Lesson' slot:

as adults love going to book clubs, I'd like to see a similar thing for older children and teenagers, so they can get together and talk about books they've read. Of course, it would just be a chance for them to impress members of the opposite sex, but it would be great if reading and talking about literature were seen as quite cool. I wish there'd been something like that when I was at school.

Madonna Letdown

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Madonna interview

Dina Rabinovitch interviews Madonna...

Not to be missed!

Pyjama Party

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | The enemy within

Dina Rabinovitch's wickedly entertaining account of a pyjama party launch held at 11 Downing Street..

Forget thousand-pound-a-ticket charity bashes: the tightest-kept secret of all is that you have to be in children's book reviewing if you want to name-drop the really swell parties. Lucky I am, then, because while Vogue's Fiona Golfar has been rattling off A-list gossip all morning, all I've been able to counter with is my "Hendon theory" - the one that posits that all important news stories have a Hendon connection.

But when Fiona wants to know if there's anything particular I need clothes for... I get to say: "Yes, the chancellor and his wife are hosting a launch for a story collection, Stars at Bedtime." The invitations, studded with the names of attending celebrities, came complete with sets of Boden pyjamas, correctly sized and gendered, for accompanying children.

Pink & Green

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The Wimbledon Shop - Ladies Championship Towel as used by the players on court. Packaged in a clear PVC bag

What's this? The 2005 Wimbledon Ladies Championship Towel has stolen ACHUKA's colour scheme! Haven't they heard, pink and green should never be seen ;-)

Accelerated Reader

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Telegraph | Education | Fast track to fulfilment

An article giving a very positive gloss on Accelerated Reader from Telegraph Weekend...

Lancashire Winner

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News: Top Author Wins Top Children's Award

Jonathan Stroud met some of the children who named his novel The Amulet of Samarkand as Lancashire Children's Book of the Year 2005.
Young people from schools from all across the county were at the awards ceremony on Saturday. He said: "I am absolutely thrilled that The Amulet of Samarkand has been selected as Lancashire Children's Book of the Year 2005, especially as it was chosen by young people. It is always wonderful if a children's book is appreciated by adults, but this counts for little in the long run if its target audience does not approve."

The award is now in its 19th year.The other shortlisted authors included Joseph Delaney (The Spook's Apprentice), Michael Lawrence (A Crack in the Line) and Theresa Tomlinson (Voyage of the Snake Lady).

Louise & Kim

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Louise Rennison and her daughter, Kim O'Connor - Magazine - Times Online

Louise Rennison and her daughter Kim were the subjects of yesterdays 'Relative Values' feature in the Sunday Times Magazine:

Louise Rennison, 51, author of the bestselling Georgia Nicolson series of books for teenagers, was 17 when she gave birth to a daughter, Kim, now 33. Kim was subsequently adopted by a New Zealand couple. Louise and her daughter were reunited for the first time 12 years ago. Louise lives alone in Brighton. Her sixth novel, ...Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers, has just been published. Kim, who works in financial services, now lives in London...

Latest title in the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson sequence...

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

Spilled Water by Sally Grindley

This book, now in paperback, won a Nestl� Smarties Gold award last year, selected by children from a shortlist chosen by adults. Its clear, pace y first-person narrative of grief, loss and hardship, mitigated by the kindness of a few good people, evokes a harsh and formal society in which girls are little valued, and in which Si-yan needs all her resilience to survive. NICOLETTE JONES

Summer Reading

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Beasts, boats and Badger, too

No single title review in The Guardian this week, but an all-age summer round-up by Julia Eccleshare. It's always interesting to see what older fiction Eccleshare herself rates (she usually writes about picture books) and here she praises TWOC by Graham Joyce - "a great teen novel":

Just Read It

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Battle of the Books - The problem with "problem" young-adult fiction. By Ann?Hulbert

Highly-recommended article by Ann Hulbert, writing in 'Slate'.

In a well-referenced, tightly-argued persuasive piece she attacks the way inferior issue novels are used in US schools...

the real trouble with such issues-oriented contemporary fiction is that it encourages what you might call (in Jeanne Kirkpatrick style) literary equivalence: The genre, as teachers have discovered with the help of accompanying guides, lends itself to trendy and tidy didacticism. And so the books can end up as assigned reading for older kids precisely when these students deserve to be discovering the difference between real literature and the melodramatic fictional equivalent of an Afterschool Special

Orion Summer Party

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Caroline Lawrence, talking to Jon Appleton, who recently began editing for Orion Children's Books (as part of his freelance portfolio), at the publisher's annual summer party last night...

Jo Williamson, Orion Publicity Officer, with Lauren St John, whose first novel in a 5-figure 3-book deal, The White Giraffe, will be published in the Autumn. It is the story of a 9-year-old orphan who is sent from England to live with her grandmother on a game reserve in South Africa. With few friends and feeling an outsider, her adventures begin as she gradually learns the secrets of the reserve, including the story of the fabled white giraffe who is rumoured to live there.

It will be the first children's book by St John, up till now a writer of biographies of musicians and golfers.

Fiona Kennedy bought the books from Catherine Clarke at the Felicity Bryan Agency. The author told ACHUKA that the book came to be written out of a consciousness of how privileged she was to have grown up in Zimbabwe amongst the animals of Africa. In addition to the children's books set in her childhood home, she is also writing a memoir.

Last year I wrote "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..." Photo galleries from previous Orion parties have always included a few pictures of the glorious spread of bread, cheese, fruits and dips. It is with mock-heavy-heart that I report the absence of food pictures in this year's gallery would appear to suggest the demise of Orion's commitment to Real Food.

The food may vave been better last year, but the venue was not, and a return to the Oktober Gallery (which Orion have used before), with its outside courtyard and seating, was welcome. Judith Elliot, retired, but still involved with Orion, was absent from the party this year, and Kevin Crossley-Holland, whom I always enjoy meeting, was another notable absentee. Marcus Sedgwick and Sally Gardner, whose new novels - The Foreshadowing and I, Coriander - are the highpoints of Orion's summer programme,

were both there and can be seen in the Gallery, as can be Michelle Paver, whose follow-up to Wolf Brother is published in September:

Caroline Lawrence was telling Jon Appleton (see above) that she is much more likely to apply the technicques of screenplay writing to her Roman Mysteries, than she is any theories of regular narrative structure.

One of ACHUKA's most interesting chats was with Tony West from the Lion & Unicorn Bookshop in Richmond.

Sorry about this shot ;-)

Here's the link to the Picture Gallery...

Booktrust Teenage Prize Shortlist

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The shortlisted books for the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2005 are:

Julie Burchill Sugar Rush
Ann Halam Siberia
Terri Paddock Come Clean
Bali Rai The Whisper
Meg Rosoff How I Live Now
Sarah Singleton Century
Karen Wallace The Unrivalled Spangles

The judges for the Booktrust Teenage Prize are:

Geraldine Brennan, Journalist (Chair)
Stuart Bryan, School student
Lucy Dalton, Teacher
Terri Dwyer, Actress
Matt Whyman, Author

The winning author will receive a cheque for �1,500 together with a trophy. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London in November 2005.

The specially designated website for the prize, www.bookheads.org.uk, promotes the prize and books for young people as well as carrying comments and reviews from young people and well-known personalities on their favourite books.

James Houston Obit.

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James Houston (1921-2005)

In 1948 Houston made a life-changing decision . He was on a trip with a bush pilot to a remote Inuit village. When the plane returned south he stayed, using his artistic skill ( he was a graduate of the Ontario College of Art) to communicate until he had learned the language. In the end he stayed in the Arctic for fourteen years. After he had left he used his experiences and his knowledge of the people, the animals, and the landscape as a basis for his literary work.
He wrote for children as well as adults. He wrote retellings of Inuit folklore ( Tikta'liktak, Akavak etc), he retold Northwest Coast First Nations legends, and he wrote adventure stories set in the contemporary North - Frozen Fire, Black Diamonds, and Whiteout.
His knowledge of the North and his skill as a storyteller made his books very popular, for they introduced new ideas and broke new ground in children's literature in this early period. He was named to the Order of Canada in 1972. He won the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award in 1966, 1968 and 1980 (Tikta'liktak , The White Archer , River Runners) and also the Vicky Metcalf Award for a body of work in 1977.

Link to online profile...

Choosing From The Child Within

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Fortune 75 - How Successful People Make Big Decisions - FORTUNE - Page 9

This, from a series of interviews in Fortune magazine on the subject of making decisions:

I choose books purely based on what I believe children will react to. If you carry the child within you, that's what works. You need a real ability to feel the hope, wonder, burning sense of injustice, fear, or rage of childhood�an unfettered mind that still dreams, that goes with the truth of story. I absolutely bet on my confidence in what children will like. BARRY CUNNINGHAM

Far East Return For Sambo

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Guardian Unlimited Books | News | Japanese publisher defies Little Black Sambo protest

Seventeen years after it was removed from bookshops for its racist content, the children's story Little Black Sambo has made a comeback in Japan.

Puffin Party Gallery

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On reflection, there's not a lot to add to my earlier comments about the Puffin Party, other than to say that a quick look back at the 2004 gallery reminded me of the number of notables not at this year's event...

2005 Gallery

Francesca Dow talk snippet

2004 Gallery

Puffin Party

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This year Puffin's Annual Summer Party moved from its traditional venue - the Roof Gardens, High Street Kensington - to the Orangery at Kensington Palace, a venue that does have its own open grandeur but, in the view of most of the guests who ventured comment, is not as party-friendly as the more sheltered outside courtyard at the roof gardens, where guests can mingle on all sides and down the middle and thereby spot one another more easily.

It wasn't just the venue that felt different this year. Compared with the days of Philippa Milnes-Smith and Anthony F-W, this year's event seemed somewhat low-key, especially given that this is a rather special anniversary year for Penguin. Francesca Dow gave her speech in front of a brick wall, with a mysterious and perhaps emblematic number 3 at her shoulder.

Francesca Dow talk snippet

Elaine McQuade was there but, understandably given her impending move to Scholastic, kept lower profile than usual (I don't think she appears in a single ACHUKA photo, but we shall see). I missed Rebecca McNally, who was there only briefly, as her special event is rather imminent. Tellingly, I wasn't buttonholed by a single Puffin editor, publicist or marketing employee, eager to introduce me to a new author or illustrator or talk about a recent acquisition, and this must be the first time this has happened, or rather not happened, at such an event.

On reflection, this may have been something to do with the fact that it is a year since I was introduced to the author of How I Live Now in just such a way, and then went on to be highly critical of the book. Or maybe it had something to do with the light linen suit I was wearing (jacket �25, trousers �10 Primark), described by the only person who commented on it, no doubt ironically, as Gatsbyesque. Maybe I should revert to arriving at parties in my deputy head garb.

The pictures show many of the expected faces, but also highlight many absentees. The two authors I was most hoping to meet, Nigel Hinton and John Sedden* (whose novel Mudlark I am in the middle of and greatly enjoying), were not there. Late in the evening Joanna Galvin, Marketing, told me that a department colleague, Matt, shared my enthusiasm for both Mudlark and Time Bomb, but I had to leave and catch my train before she could introduce me to him.

*I have since learnt that John Sedden was indeed there, although he left early, having been attacked by a squirrel.

Red House Children's Book Award

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Picture Book beats Laureate

Children have voted Simon James the outright winner of the 2005 Red House Children's Book Awards, with Jacqueline Wilson and Robert Muchamore the two other category winners...

Engineering works on the Circle & District line at Victoria delayed my arrival at the 2005 Red House Children's Book Awards. A 10 minute trip across to the Roof Gardens at Kensington High Street turned into a 60-minute heavy-traffic bus trip. I guess, in retrospect, the C in the bus number C1 stands for circular or circuitous, and had I had my wits about me I might have jumped off halfway round the circuit and arrived more quickly on foot.

Jacquline Wilson's rings and bangles shimmer as ashe addresses guests at the start of the prizegiving

As it was, I got there just as everyone was being asked to take their places for lunch, and missed the author & illustrator book signings, which previously has always delivered the best photo opportunities of the event. Hence, in comparison with ACHUKA's previous reports from the CBA event, there is a paucity of photos this year.

The Laureate wore glittery shoes for the 25th anniversary of the Award

I had lunch on a table with a party of children from York. I asked Liam, on my left, what he would normally be doing on a Saturday. Either going to Gardening Club at the allotments or meeting friends down the shops.

Liam, after presenting an award to Simon James

Liam with other members of his York Book Group

On my right was a young man from Year 10 [far right in the photo above], dressed in suit and tie. What are your interests? he was asked by someone else on the table. Scouts, history, church. He was a fan of The Recruit and had brought copies to be signed. On the opposite side of the table, two girls and their librarian chatted away with Bob and Brenda Swindells.

Robert Muchamore and his Award presenters

Behind me, Jacqueline Wilson shared a table with lucky members of a book group from another region. And so it was at table after table, with shortlisted authors/illustrators and other regular supporters of the award, such as the Swindells and Jeremy Strong, along with the great & good of children's publishing (Kate Wilson, Philippa Dickinson, editors, agents, movers&shakers), all giving up a Saturday in midsummer to attend this unique gathering.

A CBBC researcher taking notes

Liam, like me, is vegetarian. Unlike me, he doesn't care for mushrooms. Which was a shame, because the main course was tortilla filled with garlic flavoured mushrooms. He was anxious about his role as prize presenter. Chris Meade of Booktrust, sitting the other side of Liam, joined me in assuring him that he wouldn't be called on to make a speech.

Lauren Child

Liam hadn't heard of ACHUKA. I gave him a card and he took out a small notebook, turned to a page headed Websites, and added the website address in hand. I liked Liam a lot. I liked the fact that he was there. I liked the fact that he had been chosen to come. I also liked the unpretentiously natural comments by children in the video extracts. Yes, some of them were a bit feeble in terms of critical acumen, but for those of us who work in schools they were far more typical of children's verbal responses than the pretentiously articulate contributions offered last year.

Eva Ibbotson on video

Last year, Michael Morpurgo spoke via video. This year a number of shortlisted authors couldn't be present, and it was good to hear from them (Julia Donaldson, Eva Ibbotson, Eoin Colfer) via vide.

Julia Donaldoson on video

Eoin Colfer on video

Not only was The Recruit by Robert Muchamore the biggest suprise on the shortlist, it went on to win the Books for Older Readers category, which made me wonder why none of Darren Shan's titles have ever made it on to the CBA shortlist. The Cherub series, of which The Recruit was the first title, is picking up an avid following, with a website - www.cherubcampus.com - that is a model of how a site can be used to nurture and sustain a readership. Muchamore was there, enjoying the limelight, as well he might, in a Cherub T-shirt, thanking his mum for bringing him doughnuts while he worked, and thanking everyone else for coming.

Chris Paolini on video

The two other category winners were Baby Brains by Simon James and Best Friends by Jacqueline Wilson. I think everyone was expecting the Laureate to win. In a brief launch address she had promised that during her Laureateship she would do everything she could to get the 'entire nation hooked on books' and said that she would welcome ideas on how to do this. (She has two big ideas of her own.) Later, when accepting the category winner award, she paid tribute to Nick Sharratt her collaborator for some 14 years, saying she liked to think that they were indeed now 'best friends'.

Jacqueline Wilson & Nick Sharratt with their presenters

Simon James giving his 'acceptance speech'

When Simon James was declared the outright winner, he seemed genuinely overcome, in the manner of a Hollywood actor accepting an Oscar, which helped give the whole occasion a glitzy showbizzy climax, worthy of it being the 25th anniversary of the award.

Pat Thompson, the Award founder, summarising the shortlisted titles and presenting reader comments in her inimitable style

Its founder Pat Thompson revealed that this year a total of 128,000 votes had been cast - 30,000 more than last year. The two prime aims of the award remain what they have always been - to support publishers and authors, and to involve as many children as possibile in reading for pleasure and give them a voice.

Jackie Morris, just one of the many other illustrators and authors at the event, besides the shortlisted ones


About the Award and the Federation

BBC Baby Brains

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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts | Baby book wins children's award

BBC website report on Simon James winning the Red House Children's Book Award

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

Hooray For Fish by Lucy Cousins

Giving new meaning to �a school of fish�, this book is vivid and exuberant, each page a beautiful composition. Hooray for Lucy Cousins. NICOLETTE JONES


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

Short roundup, by Amanda Craig, of historical fiction and non-fiction for children...

Dahl Museum Opening

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Dahl museum opens chocolate-bar doors

Designed by the architects Hawkins/Brown, the centrepiece of the museum is a series of video displays recounting the author's life, and a set of chocolate-bar doors smelling of real chocolate.

In the adjacent story centre, children will also find an orchard featuring giant versions of artwork by Quentin Blake, Dahl's principal illustrator, and an exact replica of the garden shed in nearby Gipsy House where the author created many of his most enduring characters... ...

Divided City

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Glasgow boys

Adele Geras likes Theresa Breslin's new novel, Divided City:

Essence of Glasgow is what this book is about. The cover speaks eloquently of the division in the city - Protestants on one side, Catholics on the other. It is a difference that spreads out from religious belief to take in every aspect of life: school, work, and most especially football. The Celtic/Rangers matches and the Orange marches highlight this gulf, and Breslin has cleverly and economically built her more intimate story of two friends around these more public events... ...

Scotsman.com News - Entertainment - Poet scoops ?10,000 top Scots book prize

The �5,000 SAC Children's Book of the Year award was won by Nicola Morgan, from Edinburgh, for her novel Sleepwalking.

Harrods To Close Children's Books Dept

Publishing News - London Book Fair Dailies

HARRODS IS TRANSFERRING its children�s books department from its children�s section to its instore Waterstone�s... [reports Publishing News

Sandra Glover

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Sandra Glover tells Dea Birkett what inspired her to write a novel about a child who kills

Sandra Glover speaks to The Guardian about her recent novel You:

Glover has another book just out.


Apologies To Ralph

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Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Interview: Judy Blume

But for those of us who grew up with it, its significance can perhaps best be measured by one odd and lasting side-effect of its popularity: the consigning of the name Ralph - which is what Michael memorably decides to name his penis - to the dustbin of history. "I've heard from several young men who say: 'Judy, how could you do this to me?'" Blume admits. "I apologise to all of them. It's nothing personal."

Recommended Judy Blume feature

Sendak Feature

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USATODAY.com - For Sendak, 'cute' doesn't quite cut it

Maurice Sendak feature

publishing later in the summer, newly illustrated by Sendak

An Interview with Jon Scieszka

Bookslut | An Interview with Jon Scieszka

Recommended interview feature with author and founder of Guys Read.

Sugar Rush

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Sugar Rush

The first episode in Channel 4's serial adaptation of Julie Burchill's Sugar Rush aired last night.

For all its latenight sexedupness, the programme still had the distinct atmosphere (in terms of its production values & style) of a 'children's book' adaptation. But the Brighton setting makes it enjoyable enough.

Two Obits

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From ACHUKA's Canadian correspondent, Andrea Deakin:

Sheila Egoff
Sheila Egoff died in Vancouver (Canada) on May 22nd in her 88th year.
She was a scholar and a critic of children's literature throughout her professional life. She began working in the children's department of Toronto Public Library in 1942, working towards her degree taking night classes at the University of Toronto. She completed her studies as a librarian at University College, London . While at the Toronto Public Library she had come under the tutelage of Lillian Smith who had an enormous influence on her. On her return to Toronto she brought the British Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books to Toronto Public Library and was its first curator.
Her range of experience and growing reputation caught the attention of Samuel Rothstein and she was chosen as one of the founding faculty members of the Library School at the University of British Columbia. She was the first full time professor of children's literature and children's librarianship. She influenced countless classes of children's librarians and two of her students, Sarah Ellis and Kit Pearson , went on to win Governor- General Awards.
She was the first Canadian critic of children's literature to win international recognition and her advocacy and scholarship led in Canada to the present recognition of children's literature as a legitimate academic study. She wrote several books including "The Republic of Childhood" (1967), "Only Connect" , and "Worlds Within". She was the first Canadian to be appointed as a judge for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal and was the receipient of many awards and honourary doctorates. She developed the first Pacific Rim Conference on Children's Literature at UBC in 1976 and in the 1980's the B.C. Book Prizes established an annual award, bearing her name, for children's literature.

Laszlo Gal

Laszlo Gal was born in 1933 in Budapest, emigrated to Canada in 1956, and began his career as an illustrator in 1962 when, after an offer from Arnaldo Montadori he worked for several years in Italy before returning to Canada.
His first Canadian title was "Cartier Discovers the St. Lawrence" by William Toye and published by Oxford. The 1970's began the growth in children's publishing in Canada. New publishing houses sprang up and traditional publishers began to institute or expand programmes of Canadian publishing for children.To begin with, because of the cost of producing colour, Laszlo Gal was limited to using one or two colours for his illustrations. Blue and black created "Raven, Creator of the World" with its suggestion of Inuit design.
By 1979 Gal could return to full colour and Janet Lunn's retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" was accompanied by double-spread illustrations in watercolour and tempera. This was followed by "The Little Mermaid" and "The Willow Maiden". His drawings and paintings always reflect the art of the period in which they are set. Gal's beautifully tempered illustrations were an introduction to form, style and colour for those many children who lived very far from large cities and galleries. They inspired a generation of young Canadian illustrators to create pictures of the highest quality for children. His pictures were illustrations of the text, not interactive picture books where text and illustration feed on each other. They were of the Classical school. Canadian children have been enriched by his legacy, he was one of the most important illustrators of the last 40 years illustrating over thirty books in Canada and forty worldwide.
Laszlo Gal won the 1978 I.O.D.E. Award for "Why the Man in the Moon is Unhappy and Other Eskimo Stories" and the 1980 Canada Council Award (now the Governor -General's Award) and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" by Janet Lunn.

Big Deals For Frances Hardinge

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Macmillan Children's Books has announce the acquisition of three new books by Frances Hardinge, whose debut novel, FLY BY NIGHT, is already due for publication on the Macmillan list in October 2005. The new deal, for world rights, was brokered by Nancy Miles of the Miles Stott agency.

FLY BY NIGHT - described as a funny and fantastical adventure story set in a fictionalized eighteenth-century England - is said to have been making waves long before publication as word has spread of Hardinge's unique voice. It was, apparently, one of the most talked-about novels of the Bologna Book Fair and Macmillan has sold US rights in the book to Michael Stearns at HarperCollins USA in a six-gure=plus deal for four books.

Rights have already been sold to publishers in four other countries with several more auctions to be concluded shortly.

Hardinge's follow-up novels to FLY BY NIGHT will publish in the UK in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Emma Hopkin, Managing Director of Macmillan Children's Books, says, 'We are delighted to have acquired a further three titles from Frances. Her writing is so original and beautifully crafted, and FLY BY NIGHT has been loved by all who have read it. It is immensely exciting and satisfying to have concluded a US deal with Michael Stearns at HarperCollins that reflects the same enthusiasm and confidence in Frances's future.

Frances Hardinge herself says, 'I am amazed and delighted by the response to FLY BY NIGHT, and I couldn't be more thrilled that Macmillan wants to publish my next three novels. This is something I've dreamed about since I was four years old and I can hardly believe that it's actually happening. It feels especially surreal as, in the midst of all the excitement, I am on the other side of the world travelling through the Antipodes.'

CLPE Poetry Award

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The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education is delighted to announce that the winner of the CLPE Poetry Award for 2005 is:

Poems Inspired by the Five Senses

edited by Roger McGough (Macmillan)

The presentation was made at the Royal Festival Hall on
Monday June 6th 2005 by Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate.

Aussie Audio Interview

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Author and producer David McRobbie :: ABC Queensland

David McRobbie is one of Queensland's most published writers, clocking up a total of 32 works of fiction and non-fiction.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1934, David has worked as a ship's engineer, a primary-school teacher, college lecturer and parliamentary researcher in Papua New Guinea.

He is the author of the Wayne series of books and also wrote the gripping BBC television series Eugene Sandler PI. His young adult novel, Tyro, was shortlisted for the 2000 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award for older readers.

The page contains a link to an audio interview with the Glaswegian-born Australian author. I can remember really enjoying the thriller See How They Run. I haven't read Tyro.


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 Wrong Hands by Nigel Richardson

Events unfold compulsively with delicious comic dialogue, a gradually solved mystery, a shift in Graham�s relationships, not least with his depressive mother, and smart contemporary satire on the duplicity of the press, religious nuttiness and creepy behaviour in offices. Sassy teenagers (and their parents) will love it. NICOLETTE JONES

Guardian Unlimited Books | Special Reports | Children's Fiction Prize 2005

Guardian Children's Fiction prize 2005

Founded in 1967, the prize has a tradition of finding new voices in children's fiction before the rest of the world is aware of them. Past winners include Philip Pullman, Jacqueline Wilson and Mark Haddon.
This year's judges are 2004 winner Meg Rosoff, author Jan Mark, and illustrator Chris Riddell. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare. The shortlist will be published in September, and the winner announced on October 1...

Children's Fiction Prize 2005

Kevin Books

The Merrybegot
Julie Hearn

Wolf Brother
Michelle Paver

The Little Gentleman
Philippa Pearce

Brind And The Dogs Of War
Christopher Russell

The Hunted
Alex Shearer
The New Policeman
Kate Thompson

The Boy In The Burning House
Tim Wynne-Jones

Tips From The Top

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Telegraph | Arts | Have you got a children's story to tell?

More about Waterstone's WOW Factor competition in this Telegraph article, which ends with tips from some leading children's authors, including Philip Pullman, Eoin Colfer and Anthony Horowitz.

Laureate's Love Lesson

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Tiny fans besiege book world's bejewelled star

A feature in today's Guardian about the new Children's Laureate's appearance at the Hay Festival included the following:

... ...she revealed, to a pining audience, her 86th book is coming this autumn. Love Lessons deals with the one subject she had said she would not touch: passionate attachments of pupils to teachers. It will be followed by another in the spring, and possibly by her autobiography in autumn 2006.

This is strange. There is already a well-known YA novel in the UK about just this subject. And it too is called Love Lessons. By David Belbin, it is described on Amazon as "A gripping novel about one of the last great taboos - a teacher- pupil relationship" and has received a number of 5-star reader reviews.

McQuade MD

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This news was released by Scholastic 10 days ago, but hasn't yet been ACHOCKABLOGGED because I was away last week.

Elaine McQuade is leaving Puffin to become Managing Director of Scholastic Children's Books. She will take up her new role in early August.

You can read the full Press Release from Scholastic below. It includes news of a change of role for Gavin Lang, as well as quotes from both Kate Wilson and Elaine McQuade about the new appointment.

Third Time Bisto Winner

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Kate Thompson was announced the winner of the Bisto - Irish Children's Book Award - yesterday. It is the third time Thompson has won the award. On this occasion it was for her novel Annan Water, just out in paperback.

Third time lucky...Kate Thompson winner of the 15th annual Bisto Book of the
year award, pictured here after the awards ceremony with the perpetual
trophy and her winning book "Annan Water". Pic. Robbie Reynolds.

Waterstone's WOW Writer Comp

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Publishing News - News Page

As reported by Publishing News:

IN AN EFFORT to discover new UK literary talent, Waterstone�s has... unveiled The WOW Factor, a nationwide writing competition open to anyone over the age of 16. First prize is a guaranteed publishing contract with Faber & Faber, with the winning book publishing in paperback in September 2006 and sold front-of-store in every Waterstone�s branch across the country, supported by a high-profile promotional campaign. On top of royalties, the winner will also receive �1000. Participants have between 15 and 31 July to enter, and are being asked to take the first three chapters and a synopsis of their novel, aimed at eight to 12 or teens, to their nearest Waterstone�s; a full manuscript must be available by 30 September and the winner will be announced on 1 December. Branch staff and specialists from Waterstone�s Children�s Forum will filter entries, via reading groups, sending the 13 they consider have the magical ingredient to be judged by a panel, which will include G P Taylor (Shadowmancer/Faber), Waterstone�s bookseller and children�s author, Anna Dale (Whispering to Witches/Bloomsbury), and the winner of Junior Mastermind 2005, 11-year-old Robin Geddes from Camberley, Surrey, whose specialist subject was Lemony Snicket�s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Egmont).

Thoroughly Grown-Up Female

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Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Author of the month: Celia Rees

I missed this while I was away last week, and then realised when reading yesterday's Guardian (June 1st) that there had been no Author of the Month for May, so went to The Guardian website to find it.

Dina Rabinovitch excels at these author profiles, and this one of Celia Rees is one of her best, form its opening description - "It is the very pleasant face that is the dead giveaway. The short, ginger hair, the regular brown eyes, all so much more housewife than desperate." - to this entertainingly observant passage about the sexual content in Rees's latest novel, The Wish House:

It is another cliche of teenage writing these days that stories are liberally dosed with sexual activity - nobody does it well, as it happens, but on the whole it's better executed by the thirtysomething male writers in this field, than by the older, probably too responsible, women. In The Wish House, atmospheric and well-written plot-lines are infiltrated by Cosmo Girl-sounding passages about anxieties over coming too soon.

Sex is notoriously difficult to write well, of course, but even harder, perhaps for those penning sexual scenes for the teens. "I censor myself quite heavily - extremely heavily really," Rees tells me. "I think it's partly [that I leave out] a sort of explicitness about sex, but also the negativity. That sort of vicious cynicism, that's a totally adult view of sex - that if I chose to, I could write about. But I wouldn't write like that for teenagers. You have to be an adult to experience the things that make you like that." Ah, beware, the terrifying frankness of the thoroughly grown-up female.

You are Highly Recommended to read the full piece...

Cloud High

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Sir Paul McCartney Creates Children's Book Coming This October With a 1st US Print-run of 500,000

This is hardly new news, but was the subject of an official newswire yesterday. I wonder how Philip Ardagh (who we were able to hail in the street from my car window last week) feels about being described as a 'veteran' :-)

Sir Paul McCartney has signed with Penguin Young Readers Group to publish his children's picture book, High in the Clouds: An Urban Furry Tale, in the United States on October 4, 2005. The initial US print-run is planned at 500,000 copies. This book will have two day publication of October 3 and 4 in 8 countries (and counting). "Having worked on this story and the characters for many years, it's very exciting for me to see things come to fruition in what I think will be a remarkable book," said Paul McCartney. For the project, McCartney teamed up with veteran children's book author, Philip Ardagh and animator, Geoff Dunbar... ...

Unfortunate #12

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Lemony Snicket completes next Unfortunate Events novel

It has just been discovered that Lemony Snicket has completed Book the Twelfth in A Series of Unfortunate Events, the depressing and mysterious chronicles of three unlucky orphans who are plagued by villainy, conspiracy, and itchy clothing. The book is currently scheduled to go on sale Tuesday, October 18, 2005, with an initial 2.5 million print run, and reports suggest that this will be Mr. Snicket's most dreadful volume yet. It's so terrible that the author himself refuses to reveal the book's title, fearing that it will cause panic, chaos, or both. In fact, executives at HarperCollins Children's Books, which is publishing the book, have been instructed to refer to it only by its ISBN number, 0-06-441015-3... ...


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Demons Of The Ocean

by Justin Somper

(Simon & Schuster)

The start of a new adventure series set 500 years in the
future when rising sea levels have invoked a new era of piracy.

Book #2 will
be published January 2006.

Picture from the launch party that I missed last week:

Justin Somper centre; Ingrid Selberg (S&S Publishing Director), John Webb (Children�s Buyer Waterstone�s Head Office) to the left; Louise Grieve (Children�s Manager Waterstone�s Edinburgh West End) and Venetia Gosling (Fiction Editorial Director) to the right...

Philbrick Interview

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icNewcastle - A Hemingway with words

An interview with Rodman Philbrick, author of Lobster Boy


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