August 2005 Archives

Paolini Piece

| No Comments - Wizard of words writes away

USA Today profile of author Christopher Paolini...

Lotte Klaver #10

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Lotte's sketchbook

Lotte Klaver is a young Dutch illustrator. ACHUKA is featuring her work because we are convinced she has a bright future as an illustrator generally, and as an illustrator of children's books in particular.

Successful Edinburgh

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Rivals warning after festivals break records - The Herald

Karen Mountney, the festival's children's programme director said: "It's been another bumper year for the children's programme with more children than ever before meeting some of today's greatest authors, from household names to rising talent."

The festival bookshop enjoyed sales of some �500,000 with Raven's Gate by Anthony Horwoitz the best-selling children's title.

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

Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow

Snow�s drawings suggest a Dickensian town, and his caricatures with their gormless faces and his lovingly rendered machinery make this book (now a website and film) as much fun to look at as it is to read. NICOLETTE JONES

Lotte Klaver #9

Lotte's sketchbook

Lotte's latest sketch:

Untrustworthy Girls

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

Amanda Craig reviews Odin's Voice by Susan Price:

This is harder, edgier, nastier than Price�s Sterkarm trilogy, with none of the comforting shimmer of magic and romance left over from the author�s forays into fairytales. Instead of corporate betrayal and manipulation, there is a strong sense of how untrustworthy girls can be to each other, pretending to be best friends while working to a different game-plan. By the end you care about both girls and hope they succeed in the promised sequels....

Ottakers & The HP Effect

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BBC NEWS | Business | HMV makes move on Ottakar's chain

Last month, Ottakar's warned same-store sales dropped 6.7% in the 4 weeks to 16 July - blaming the Harry Potter phenomenon for the drop. The group said that customers had opted for reduced price copies of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince available at supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury's. It also said the release had prompted many publishers to delay the launch of new titles as they feared harsh competition from the children's book.

The Publishing Mob

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Special Reports | Everyone does not have a novel inside them

Tim Clare takes issue with G. P. Taylor...


The publishing world, frankly, is a cartel," opined GP Taylor, children's author and erstwhile self-publisher, "you can only get in there if you're in the know ... I and JK Rowling were discovered by accident. Most people are in the club, and it's a mafia."


The truth is a disproportionate number of publishers are wide-eyed idealists with a frightening propensity for chucking good money after bad... The British publishing industry is crying out for a high-profile hothead to disabuse thousands of needy, bumbling timewasters of the notion that nascent masterpieces stir within their loins."

Highly recommended

Charlotte's Web

| No Comments - Hog wild on the set of 'Charlotte's Web'

As if Winick [director] didn't have enough critters to corral, a pair of crows, voiced by Thomas Haden Church of Sideways and Andre Benjamin of hip-hop duo Outkast, were added to the tale based on E.B. White's beloved book.

"They're an obstacle element for Templeton the rat," he explains. The birds heckle the rodent as he scavenges for paper scraps with words for Charlotte to weave into her web to promote Wilbur and save his hide. "They heighten the dramatic stakes."

Charlotte (Julia Roberts) and her web as well as Templeton (Steve Buscemi) will be digitally created and are still being designed. "We wanted a photo-real spider and rat so we can make them behave the way we want," the director explains...

The film isn't released till next year, but for preview screenshot gallery - go here...

Lotte Klaver #8

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Lotte's sketchbook

Lotte's sketch for today:

Lotte Klaver is a young Dutch illustrator. ACHUKA is featuring her work because we are convinced she has a bright future as an illustrator generally, and as an illustrator of children's books in particular.

Gotten BIg

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Former teen author hopes 'Eldest' scales the heights of his debut fantasy, 'Eragon'

Feature about Christopher Paolini, on publicvation of Eldest, the sequel to Eragon:

the level-headed Montanan didn't fully grasp "Eragon's" pop-culture impact until a few days ago, when he was crossing light sabers with online opponents in a Jedi knight game.

"One of the players was named Eragon," Paolini said. "Much to my horror, he was actually pretty good and I found a message flashed across the screen -- 'You have been killed by Eragon.' That was when I realized how big this has gotten."

Sandi Toksvig

| No Comments News - Features - A mother's tale

A Scotsman feature about Sandi Tolsvig, author of Hitler's Canary:

Lotte Klaver #7

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Lotte's sketchbook

Lotte's sketch for today, Tuesday:

Eco Author / Photographer

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Lotte #6

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Lotte's sketchbook

Lotte's sketch for today:

Lotte Klaver #5

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Lotte's sketchbook

another from Lotte's archive:

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

Wolves by Emily Gravett

The deserving winner of the Macmillan prize for new illustration, Wolves uses a delightful melange of skilful drawing with a big soft pencil, textured gouache expressing rabbit fur, simple but cleverly self-referential text, and collage that includes a library ticket and a letter from the library (which can be extracted respectively from a pocket and an envelope). NICOLETTE JONES

Children's Novels Are So Terrible

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Scotland on Sunday - The Review - Inner voices that never shut up

[Sebastien] Faulks says he is tired of trawling archives and is now working on a children's book for pre-teens that involves evolution, time, a boy, a dog and a girl in another world. There is no sex and no research necessary. "I've got three children and I'm always bemoaning the fact that children's novels are so terrible - so if you think you're so clever, do one yourself."

from a Scotland On Sunday feature about Sebastian Faulks author of Birdsong, The Girl at the Lion d'Or and Charlotte Gray. His latest adult book is Human Traces:

Books Endure

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Childhood joys found only between the covers - Opinion -

Books endure because of their unique connection with a child's imagination. The new technologies cannot do this... ...

It is Children's Book Week in Australia and Christopher Bantick, a Melbourne writer, has an article in The Age analysing the reasons why books are holding their own agaisnt the new technologies.

Teenagers Need It

| 1 Comment News - News Archive - Blaming the brain is no teenage fiction

Nicola Morgan explains why teenagers need teenage fiction... It's a brain thang...

I believe the nature of the teenage brain helps explain their reading preferences: teenage brains react differently to risk, often needing more to satisfy its reward system, and teenage novels are often extra risky or frightening. Teenage brains can be emotionally dramatic, and their books often explore emotional extremes. Teenage brains are newly able to construct ethical judgments: their novels, therefore, may explore Big Questions, such as war, death, addiction, sex, racism, religion...

Nicola Morgan's book on the teenage brain, Blame My Brain, is published September 5th:

Lotte Klaver #4

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Lotte's sketchbook

Another sketch from Lotte's archive:

Less Kissing Please

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

Amanda Craig regrets the introduction of romance into ELizabeth Laird's nautical tale Secrets of the Fearless

Let us hope that in John and Kit�s next adventure there is a lot more discomfort and a lot less kissing. AMANDA CRAIG

Here is what Nick Tucker said about this book in an Independent review at the end of July:

Elizabeth Laird's Secrets of the Success (Macmillan, �12.99) takes a more rosy view of the past - unexpected in a writer whose previous novels have included unflinching pictures of today's political hot spots. Based on the life of her great-great-great grandfather, this story describes how 12-year old John Barr discovers that life as a powder-monkey aboard a battleship during the Napoleonic Wars has much to recommend it. Brutality, poor food and hideous wounds never really dent the mood of optimistic adventure, with John soon joined by Kit, who is - as so often in history novels - a girl in disguise. Setting out on a dangerous mission in France, they are aided by overheard conversations and unearthed documents as the story settles into the comfortable grooves of a pleasant old-school melodrama. NICK TUCKER


| No Comments News - Features - Chasing demons

David Robinson profiles Anthony Horowitz for The Scotsman:

With Raven's Gate, Horowitz is once more breaking new ground in children's literature. "Stephen King for kids" is his shorthand phrase for what he is attempting in the five-book series, the first of which sets up a tale of sinister supernatural adventures that nudges the supernatural horror genre further down the age range than it's probably ever been.

In the novel, 14-year-old orphan, Matthew Freeman, is caught breaking into a warehouse and sent to Yorkshire to be fostered on a farm by the frightening Mrs Deverill. If she's not what she seems, neither are any of the residents of the nearby village. The scares get progressively bigger. One scene in particular - when dinosaur skeletons in the main hall of the Natural History Museum come to life by night and start attacking Freeman - is the kind of bedtime reading that can haunt the dreams of adults and children alike. Tautly told, the nightmare - which only seems preposterous in precis form - is graphic and unpredictable, growing coherently out of credibly mundane beginnings.

High Status

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FT piece on the opening of Seven Stories...

Britain's only centre wholly dedicated to the celebration of children's books was opened yesterday by Jacqueline Wilson, the children's laureate, and her principal illustrator Nick Sharratt.

The enthusiasm and support generated among writers, illustrators and publishers for the ?6.5m project is indicative of the rising status over the last decade of children's literature.
Victor Watson, chairman of Seven Stories trustees, says the shift in attitude towards a former Cinderella of the literary establishment is partly due to the increasing popularity with children and adults of "crossover" work by authors such as JK Rowling and Philip Pullman.
Mr Watson, editor of the Cambridge Guide to Children's Books, says few people, except children, were interested in children's books 20 years ago. "Now they have high status," he says.

First New Worst Witch In Ten Years

| No Comments Books: The Worst Witch Saves the Day

There is a poignant note from Jill Murphy accompanying proof copies of the new Worst Witch title, publishing in October

The Worst Witch Saves The Day

While I was working on the illustrations for the new book, my gorgeous Tyger (a clone of Tabby) went missing for three months. It was really sad drawing some of the pictures - especially page 105 and the last one of all, showing Mildrend and Tabby happily asleep - just like me with my own darling Tyger, if only he wasn't lost forever. Amazingly, while I was finishing this picture, I wnet out searching for him after a tip-off and found him lost and starving on a farm a mile away. What a reunion! I don't know who mad emore noise - him miaowing and purring or me crying. JILL MURPHY

Magic Myth And Menace

| No Comments Books: To the End of the World (Keepers & Seekers S.)

ACHUKA can't be at the Edinburgh Book Festival, but here's a self-published Scottish book that looks worthy of promotion*. Written by Colin Foreman to raise money for the Children's Hospice Association Scotland (to which organisation all profits from the book will go), it has had enthusiastic support from John Webb, children's book buyer at Waterstones, who also played a significant advisory role in the book's striking cover design by Wayne Reynolds.

To The End Of The World by Colin Foreman

Centre For Children's Books

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BBC NEWS | UK | Education | UK children's books centre opens

Another feature on the centre in north-east England, being opened today by Nick Sharratt and Jacqueline Wilson.

Lotte Klaver #3

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Lotte's sketchbook

More examples of Lotte's colour illustration can be found on her main website (see our Site of the Week link, or click 'about' from the sketchbook page):

Seven Stories

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Publishing News - News Page

CHILDREN'S LAUREATE JACQUELINE Wilson and her principal illustrator Nick Sharratt will open (19 August) the new visitor centre at Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books, housed in an old Victorian warehouse on the Ouseburn River. After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, visitors will be allowed into the brand new seven-storey building, and into a whole world of children's literature. �It�s a once-in-a-lifetime bringing together of work, an anthology of some of the most interesting writing of the last 70 years,� said Elizabeth Hammill, Seven Stories Collection Development Director. �This place answers the question �what happens when you read?�, and is like nothing you�ve ever seen before � it�s exceeded everyone�s expectations.�

ACHUKA Special

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ACHUKA Visits the Anholts

Here's an ACHUKA Special Feature - a visit to the Anholts and their amazing bookshop by the sea...

Dahl Meets Little Britain

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North Devon Gazette - Author's first book is set in North Devon

A Barnstaple children's author is hoping to win the hearts and minds of young readers with his first published book - which he describes as "a cross between Roald Dahl and Little Britain."

James Duncan, from Pilton, has written a story for seven-to-11-year-olds firmly in the Dahl tradition, entitled Sweets That Eat Children, but with plenty of humour and not nearly as gruesome as its title suggests!

Lotte's Sketchbook #2

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Lotte's sketchbook
No new sketch from Lotte today, so here's one from her archive:

Lotte tells ACHUKA that she is currently picking up a number of one-off illustration assignments, but that she would love to illustrate a children's book. If I were a publisher, I'd be firing off an email and zipping to Amsterdam to talk business. I'm not, but I hope exposure of her work here on ACHUKA will play a small part in persuading those who are in such a position to consider commissioning something from her.

Iranian Children's Book Fair

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Iran News - Kerman prepares for Iran children's book fair

The second Children and Young Adults? International Book Fair is to be held in the city of Kerman in late February 2006...

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Floris Books announced the winner of the 2005 Kelpies Prize at a packed award ceremony at the Edinburgh International Book Festival yesterday.
The Edinburgh-based publisher launched the Kelpies Prize at last year�s Festival, to encourage and reward new Scottish writing for children.

The winning title was Catscape by Mike Nicholson. Mike received a cheque for �2,000 on the night. His book will be published in the Contemporary Kelpies series on October 13th, 2005.

Catherine MacPhail, the Greenock-based author of children�s novels Run Zan Run, Underworld and Roxy�s Baby, presented the prize. She spoke of how winning the Kathleen Fidler Award had got her started as a children�s author and how vibrant the children�s writing community in Scotland is at the moment.
Christian Maclean, Managing Director of Floris Books, commented: �Any of the three shortlisted manuscripts would have been worthy winners of this year�s Kelpies Prize. We�re delighted for Mike, though, and look forward to publishing Catscape this autumn. We were impressed with the sharp observation and witty humour throughout the story.�

Lotte Klaver

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Lotte's sketchbook

ACHUKA is predicting big things for this young Dutch illustrator. Her main website is our Site of the Week, and we shall be featuring her latest sketchbook entry regularly on the Blog.

Check through the rest of her online sketchbook, including the Archives, and you'll begin to understand and share our enthusiasm.

Leslea Newman Interview

| No Comments - Interview with Lesl?Newman

An interview with Leslea Newman, author of YA novel Jailbait:

In Jailbait (Delacorte Press, 2005, $15.95), her new young adult novel, Heather Has Two Mommies creator Lesl?Newman takes the reader back in time and back to high school where Andrea Robin Kaplan, a lonely sophomore becomes the object of the affections of pedophile Frank. Frank�s inappropriate attentions are an unexpected reprieve for Andrea from her social outcast status at school and her dutiful daughter role at home. Although she knows it�s wrong, it is through this painful and complicated experience that Andrea is able to emerge as a stronger and smarter person, and one who regains control of her life.

Recommended (interview runs across three pages)

Nestle Prize

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Nestl?hildren's Book Prize - Schoolchildren Needed To Become Book Prize Judges!

Schoolchildren around the country are needed to take part in the Nestl� Children's Book Prize, formerly known as the Nestl� Smarties Book Prize.

Schools will soon have the chance to take part in the country's biggest children's book prize and win the chance for their children to become 'Young Judges' and judge the shortlisted books for this year's prize.

Nameless Novel

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Title of New Lemony Snicket Unknown! Concerned Fans are Invited to Visit to Investigate

NEW YORK, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Will Lemony Snicket fans be able to solve the mysteries surrounding Book the Twelfth in A Series of Unfortunate Events before its on sale date of October 18, 2005? HarperCollins Children's Books is challenging fans to investigate via a new web site,

On going to this website you will be greeted by the following by-now-familiar cautionary warning:


Mr. Snicket and the title of his new book are still missing. Volunteers everywhere are extremely alarmed.

I have no choice but to investigate. You, however, are free to turn off your computer instead of entering your birthday, hitting �Submit�, and joining the search for The Nameless Novel right away.

Usagi Yojimbo Final

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Usagi Yojimbo #89

Master storyteller Stan Sakai has won many industry awards over the past twenty years of Usagi, including a Parents� Choice Award, an Inkpot Award, multiple Eisner Awards, a 2004 Young Adult Library Services Association award, and the prestigious National Cartoonists Society Comic Book Division Award.

Seven Stories

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Centre to explore and celebrate children's books

Article about the official opening (this coming Friday) of the new centre for children's books, Newcastle:

The former children's laureate Quentin Blake is wearing trainers and having 40 winks on colourful cushions in the book den at Seven Stories, the ?6.5m centre for children's books converted from a Victorian grain store on the bank of the Ouseburn, just down river from the Tyne bridge in Newcastle. The centre, which collects, explores and celebrates children's books, will be opened on Friday by the current children's laureate, Jacqueline Wilson, and illustrator Nick Sharratt...

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

by Janusz Korczak

"Challenging in its detailed exploration of cause and effect, and of strategy and diplomacy, this remarkable period curiosity still invites children to think for themselves." NICOLETTE JONES

Not So Adult

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Don't go into the cave

Mark Lawson reviews Hawkes Harbor, S. E. Hinton's first novel for 17 years:

Apart from two short picture books for kindergarten children, Hawkes Harbor is the writer's first publication for 17 years, and she's now keen to broaden her appeal. This is billed as her first adult fiction, and a note on her website even warns adolescents against it. Not discovering this stipulation until after finishing the book, I was surprised by it. Hawkes Harbor has many classic elements of teenage fiction: the hero, Jamie Sommers, is an orphan who goes to sea and has adventures with pirates and a shark. While he also has sex with a number of young men, the encounters are described no more graphically than in the adolescent fiction of Judy Blume, and there's soon a crucial scene in which Jamie finds himself cold and frightened in a cave where he makes a terrifying discovery. The scouts' honour of book reviewers demands that Jamie's find in the cave should not be given away but, for this reader, it was of a nature that pushes the book even closer to the children's fiction shelves. It's enough to say that what comes out of the cave admits the novel to a certain gothic genre which, although it has attracted grown-up authors, is most credible in juvenile writing.

Highly recommended review...

Innocent's Story

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

It is hard to imagine anything more distracting than Singer�s descriptions of Cassina�s entry into other characters� brains, and on one occasion her father�s lungs. This literal interpretation of the notion of empathy is a testament to the inadequacy of good intentions, turning the novel into a whimsical exercise that cannot be taken seriously...

A review of Nicky Singer's The Innocent's Story

BA Scuppers Hughes

| No Comments News - Scotland - Tickets going fast but authors offer extra

The children's author Shirley Hughes will not make her book festival session today due to the British Airways strike, staff said yesterday. But Julia Donaldson, creator of The Gruffalo, has agreed to step in, adding a third show on top of two other sold-out events.

Orthodox Slam Poet Novelist

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Morris Gleitzman

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Children's author Morris Gleitsman :: ABC Queensland

Morris Gleitzman feature.
Includes audiolink...

Child Author

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CBBC Newsround | Win | Win: 10-year-old boy's first novel

from cbbc newsround:

A 10-year-old boy is currently writing his third novel in a trilogy!
Michael Dowling - who writes under the false name of Tobias Druitt - has already had his first book published.

It's called Corydon and the Island of Monsters

Cowardly Escapists

| 2 Comments News - Opinion - JK's failed to work her magic on me

An author calls Rowling's adult readers 'cowardly escapists'
... ...surely this is worht a comment ;-)

Adult fiction recognises that the contemporary world is a complex, difficult place with demands on our reasoning that require careful consideration. I have nothing against Harry Potter or any of his genuinely juvenile followers - children should be bursting with juvenility - but his adult disciples are little more than cowardly escapists.

Rowling Rebuttals

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Harry Potter author hits back

Rowling dismisses media claims of her supposed annoyance at being labelled a children's writer, or having a meal with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. "I just hope they can remember it because I can't," she says, before knocking down another Aunt Sally - the lie that she vetoed Steven Spielberg as director of the Potter sagas....

Brtish Director For Pullman Movie

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Independent Online Edition > News : app1

A comparatively unknown Briton has been handed one of the most ambitious and expensive jobs in film, directing The Golden Compass, the eagerly awaited first instalment of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Anand Tucker, director of the Oscar-nominated low-budget movie Hilary and Jackie, about the cellist Jacqueline du Pre and a yet-to-be-released Steve Martin film, Shopgirl, beat 50 others for the chance to bring Pullman's epic to the big screen...

Text Promotion

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HarperCollins Taps SMS to Promote Children's Novels

HarperCollins has begun an aggressive text messaging program to promote upcoming children's novels by The Princess Diaries author Meg Cabot. The publisher will send a variety of content and promotions via SMS to Cabot fans who join the Meg Cabot Mobile Club via the author's Web site... ..

Chiming With Children's Needs

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Sugar and spice and all things not very nice . . . - Home - Times Online

Another profile of the current Children's Laureate, Jacqueline Wilson, appeared in The Times at the weekend:

She is delighted if her books are a manual to children in stressful situations � from the �my best friend doesn�t like me any more� end of the spectrum to real, call-in-the-social-worker trauma, but it was never, she stresses, her intention: �Since I was tiny, I made up imaginary people in my head, and as soon as I could write I wrote them down. So the books express me and what I wanted to say. But if it does occasionally chime with children�s needs, that�s a huge bonus. I don�t set out to write in a didactic way, but because my books tend to be issue-led, people sometimes think I sit down and think, �Right, let�s write a book about how to help a child through divorce�, whereas it starts with the character. I simply try to see things from the child character�s point of view.�

A stage adaptation of Midnight runs at the Peacock Theatre, London from AUg 10 - 27

Not Just Polite Noises

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Independent Online Edition > Interviews : app5

James Urquhart interviews Elizabeth and asks about her movie into the children's market:

"In the very best young adult books there is as much going on as in adult literary fiction," Knox claims, adding with a modest laugh that "what gets classed as adult literary fiction is sometimes just polite noises."

The Rainbow Opera by Elizabeth Knox

Children's Special

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Independent Online Edition > Reviews : app3

The Independent on Sunday ran a 'children's books special' yesterday which included:

a teen reviewer, Edward Malnick, reviewing teen fiction, and fining Kevin Brooks' Candy 'scarily convincing', Get Real by Mimi Thebo patronising and Riding Tycho by Jan Mark requiring 'strong concnetration'

Felix Reade reviewing fantasy and finding The Opal Deception lacking 'the imagination and originality of the previous Artemis Fowl books',Kate Thompson's The New Policeman 'beautifully original', K. M. Peyton's Greater Gains a 'fantastic read', while Angie Sage's Septimus Heap - Magyck did not impress - " I would not recommend this book to many, but for six- to nine-year olds (who do not recognise and therefore do not instantly dislike the clich�s), it could be interesting."

Suzie Feay reviewing Tersias by G. P. Taylor and finding him excelling at metaphysical terror despite various lapses in style - "He is superb at creating atmosphere, so he can be forgiven his occasional adjectival and adverbial excesses and the odd gothic clich�. What can't so easily be forgiven, in his editor at least, is a clumsy mix-up of sliver and slither: "searching within for the strength to smash it to the ground and crush every slither of timber to the dust". It's maddening to see such an error in a book aimed at children."

Boyd Tonkin selecting 'Ten Best Books For Under-5's' and making This Little Baby by Sandra Lousada his No.1 choice

and Amanda Craig reviewing audiobooks fro children

The Point Of Research

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Michelle Paver: Paperback writer
Michelle Paver explains how she got into the mind of a wolf...

To me that's the point of research: to make the reader feel as if they're in the forest with Torak and Wolf, smelling the tang of a birchwood fire; hearing the wobbly yowl of a wolf cub. To experience the forest in the raw, I travelled to Finnish Lapland, where I slept on reindeer hides, tasted lingonberries scooped from the undergrowth, and learned how to carry fire in a roll of bark.

Spirit Walker, the sequel to Wolf Brother, is published next month:

La Specola

| No Comments

I�ve got you, under your skin - Books - Times Online

Eleanor Updale, author of Montomorency And The Assassins, describes her visit to a museum of waxwork cadavers...

...essentially this is the place to which Montmorency comes in 1898 with Lord George Fox-Selwyn and his nephew Frank in Montmorency and the Assassins. They are on the trail of stolen exhibits from a collection in London. Like me on my first visit, they�re in for a wonderful surprise...

ST Book Of The Week

| No Comments

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

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

I, Coriander by Sally Gardner

Gardner�s is a tale of accelerated growing up, a drama of suffering and fear, loyalty and first love, all played out against a background of rich period detail. It is also the story of the growing pains of a nation � Britain � that went through its own fundamentalist phase. NICOLETTE JONES

Preferring Rider To Raven


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

Amanda Craig, reviewing Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz

I find Alex Rider�s gadgetry more thrilling than precognition, and whenever this author plays to his strengths rather than describing mystical powers, the story rises another notch. It takes half the book before the tension explodes into the sort of chase scenes that makes this author a favourite with boys � but it is worth it... ...

Teenage Fiction Not Timid

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Independent Online Edition: The Facts About Teenage Fiction

ACHUKA & others have been saying it for years of course. Still, it's good to hear it loud & clear from on high :-))

Boyd Tonkin, writing in yesterday's Independent:

... isn't the startling topics or no-holds-barred idioms that define the strongest achievements in children's fiction today. More remarkable than the upfront passions and terrors is its ability to win and keep readers with an amazingly wide range of forms and genres - from the grittiest kinds of "dirty realism" through every possible brand of fable and fantasy. Alongside its exploits and experiments, much of mainstream adult writing looks stuck in a drearily naturalistic backwater. So read Blackman, or Pullman, or Burgess, and be shocked: not by their ambitions, but by their adult counterparts' timidity...

Highly recommended

Checkmate's Chart Position

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Guardian Unlimited Books | News | Tale of suicide bomber tops teen book list

...despite its unsettling subject matter, Checkmate, the tale of a mixed-race teenage girl who is groomed to become a suicide bomber has also become a bestseller...
Waterstone's said yesterday that the book, by the award-winning children's author Malorie Blackman, was number two in its teen fiction sale list and just outside the top 50 in its list of best-selling books across all genres.

Anant Pai Interview

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ACHUKA Interviews

Anant Pai, popularly 'Uncle Pai' to millions of children in India, is seen as the father of the Indian comic book. His creation, the Amar Chitra Katha � literally �Immortal Pictorial Tales� � is today a venerated institution. Amar Chitra Katha was introduced in India at a time when the western heroes � Superman and Phantom � were making waves and thrilling the English educated Indian child.

Nandini Nayar interviews Anant Pai for ACHUKA...

Sally Gardner Interview

| No Comments | Books | Health: The dyslexic novelist

Polly Curtis interviews Sally Gardner, author of I Coriander, for The Guardian:

How do you write a novel when grammar, spelling and punctuation are a mystery to you? "I did it on a laptop. When I wrote before in exercise books, it was hopeless because I would forget I'd written something or lose the page. I bought one of those Apples that looks like a Barbie's loo seat. I rather loved it; it was blue...

Pratchett's Complaint

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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts | Pratchett anger at Rowling's rise

Author Terry Pratchett has complained that the status of Harry Potter author JK Rowling is being elevated "at the expense of other writers".

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