February 2006 Archives

Landy Deal

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HarperCollins Children's Books :: HarperCollins Children's Books Signs Debut Author for Worldwide Three-Book Deal

HarperCollins Publishers today announced that it has acquired world-English language rights to three books by screenwriter Derek Landy, following a frenzy of interest from publishers around the world. The book, audio and e-formats will be published in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India. The series will begin with SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT, a comic-fantasy-adventure in which a young girl teams up with the wise-cracking skeleton of a dead magician to defeat an Ancient evil. "Sharply dressed skeleton detectives, feisty young heroines, scary monsters, and super-creeps -- I think my career guidance teacher is spinning in her grave. Or she would be if she were dead," said Landy, a Dublin-based screenwriter who wrote the 2003 thriller Dead Bodies and the 2005 dark comedy Boy Eats Girl. The deal was negotiated by Gillie Russell, Fiction Publishing Director and Sally Gritten, Managing Director, both of HarperCollins U.K., and Michael Stearns, Editorial Director, HarperCollins U.S., with Landy's agent Michelle Kass of Michelle Kass Associates... ...

Lotte Klaver #50

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Lotte's sketchbook

One of Lotte's latest:

Lotte Klaver is a young Dutch illustrator. ACHUKA is continuing to feature 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.


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CBBC Newsround | Win | Win: Signed copies of A Darkling Plain

Win: Signed copies of A Darkling Plain by Philip Reeve

Look out for an upcoming ACHUKA interview with Philip Reeve....

Five Words

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Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Author of the month: Emily Gravett

Guardian Author of the Month - feature by Dina Rabinovitch

Emily Gravett's journey from bringing up a baby while living on a bus to producing prize-shortlisted books for children has been a long and eventful one. She talks to Dina Rabinovitch about her latest book, Orange Pear Apple Bear...

Highly Recommended

STBook 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

Once. by Morris Gleitzman

Making fiction about the Holocaust is always problematic. Authors who exploit the event primarily to invest their work with importance are beneath contempt. Yet, occasionally, solutions to the challenging question of how a children�s book might be produced on this subject do add to the empathy of a new generation without being a travesty. NICOLETTE JONES

New Depth

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

Amanda Craig has fine things to say about Seven For A Secret by Laurence Anholt and Jim Coplestone

Anholt�s bestselling Chimp and Zee books, and his dramatisations of the lives of Picasso, Degas and Monet, were outstanding in showing a child�s- eye view of family life and art, but this has a new depth...

Julia Recommends...

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Mongrels and rabbits, witches and fairies

Julia Eccleshare recommends some recent titles for different agaegroups for World Book Day

Libraries Change Lives Award Shortlist

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Shortlist for the 2006 CILIP / LiS Libraries Change Lives Award Announced

A project working with vulnerable young people and drug addicts in Blackburn, helping to create a senses of ownership of the library; a library service focused on guest workers and their families in Lincolnshire; and an innovative library-based scheme working with excluded young people to address antisocial behaviour in the Sighthill area of Edinburgh, are in the running for the 2006 CILIP/LiS Libraries Change Lives Award.

The winner of the award will be announced by performance poet John Hegley on 26 April 2006 at the Library + information Show (LiS), The Pavilion, NEC, Birmingham.

The three shortlisted library projects are:

- Books on the Edge � Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council

- Multicultural Development Service � Lincolnshire County Council

- Sighthill Library Youth Work � Edinburgh City Libraries and Information Service

This is the 14th year of the national award that recognises innovative and exciting work in libraries and their communities.

Lotte #49

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Lotte's sketchbook

One of Lotte's latest:

Lotte Klaver is a young Dutch illustrator. ACHUKA is continuing to feature 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.

New Site

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Stanley Bagshaw's website is still in progress, but it's online and ready to visit.


Matthew Skelton

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A writer's fairy-tale beginning

Canadian feature on author of Endymion Spring:

Once upon a time, there was a shy, studious kid from Edmonton named Matthew Skelton...

Red House Shortlist

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The full shortlist for the 2006 Red House Children�s Book Award is as follows:

Books for Younger Children

Traction Man is Here by Mini Grey (Jonathan Cape)

Pigs Might Fly! by Jonathan Emmett & Steve Cox (Puffin)

Mr Strongmouse and the Baby by Hiawyn Oram & Lynne Chapman (Orchard Books )

The Biggest Bear by Adam Relf (Scholastic)

Books for Younger Readers

The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo (Harper Collins)

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper (Simon & Schuster)

Spy Dog by Andrew Cope (Puffin)

Books for Older Readers

Driftwood by Cathy Cassidy (Puffin)

Paralysed by Sherry Ashworth (Simon & Schuster)

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (Puffin)

Tana Hoban

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Tana Hoban, 88; Author of Children's Books Used Her Photographs as Illustrations - Los Angeles Times

Tana Hoban, a photographer and author who produced dozens of illustrated books for children, died Jan. 27 at a hospice near Paris. She was 88... ...

It's Very Moving

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Avaunt, fuddy-duddies

Philip Ardagh reviews Peter And The Starchatchers in Tbe Guardian (a second week with children's books squeezed into a part-page)

When it comes to language, the authors play fast and loose with period and culture, too. We have a "gesundheit" and a "git" in there somewhere. But why should Barry and Pearson worry? It's not their job to satisfy us fuddy-duddies who were brought up on the wonderfully English middle-class diet of being taken to see Peter Pan in the West End every Christmas. They are out to appeal to a different audience. And the book goes to ingenious lengths to explain and establish all aspects of Peter Pan's later world, with which we're familiar. It is also very moving.

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 Ultimate Teen Book Guide

the volume bursts with enthusiasm and apercus, undoubtedly offering something for everyone � and something for everyone to dislike, too...

Futuristic Fantasy

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

Amanda Craig is wrong about Alaizabel Cray being Chris Wooding's 'debut', but she's right to identify the realtionship between Storm Thief's main characters as a key element in his latest title's success:

Not everybody likes fantasies which combine dizzying imaginative detail with action-adventure, but for kids who find fiction second-best to PlayStation games, Wooding is ideal. His debut, The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, went about as far as you could go in macabre fantasy without losing a young audience to full-blown horror; but what makes Storm Thief particularly appealing is the relationship between Rail and Moa....

Roman Mysteries Mastermind

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A Carloje Lawrence fan will be on Junior Mastermind answering questions on the Roman Mysteries on BBC 1 at 7.00pm tomorrow Friday 17 Feb.

SCWBI Bologna

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Authors and illustrators: Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Sara Rojo, Doug Cushman
Editors:Victoria Arms/Bloomsbury, Judy Zylstra/Eerdmans, Mary Rodgers/Lerner.
Agents: Rosemary Canter/PFD, Barry Goldblatt/Barry Goldblatt Literary, Rosemary Stimola
in hands-on workshops and roundtable discussions: SCBWI Bologna, 25-26 March 2006.

Register today at http://www.scbwi.org/events.htm

Lotte #48

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Lotte's sketchbook

One of Lotte's latest:

Lotte Klaver is a young Dutch illustrator. ACHUKA is continuing to feature 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.

The Bunny Man

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Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Bunny love

Highly-recommended profile of Dick Bruna...

Every morning Dick Bruna cycles along the canals of the pretty Dutch town of Utrecht to his studio; at exactly eight o'clock he stops for a cup of coffee at the same cafe, where a couple of Japanese girls will be waiting for him. At 78, with a silvery moustache and spectacles, he seems an unlikely target for groupies...

See also

Teen Reviews

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Scotsman.com News - Features - Dangerous terrain

Dangerous terrain

My latest batch of teen fiction reviews from last Saturday's Scotsman...

see also Kathryn Ross's roundup of younger fiction

Short Is Good

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Review: Something Invisible by Siobhan Parkinson

Adele Geras appreciates the brivity of Something Invisible by Siobhan Parkinson:

Something Invisible is a very short book. There's a lot to be said for short books, and as far as children are concerned, in spite of the reading stamina that recent hugely fat fantasies have developed in the young, short is good.

Illustrator Death

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New Zealand's source for entertainment news, gossip & music, movie & book reviews on Stuff.co.nz: Illustrator's death mourned

[Selina} Young, 35, died in Christchurch on Wednesday. Her death is a suspected suicide and has been referred to the coroner. British-born Young moved to New Zealand 10 years ago and lived in Lyttelton.... ...

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 Extraordinary Adventures Of Horatio Lyle by Catherine Webb

Defying current clich?of children�s fiction, the novel has evil forces that believe in restoring the planet to its natural state � even if that means murdering people � while the hero has faith in the industrical revolution and the potential of technology. Lyle is assisted in his helter-skelter adventure by a wealthy youth and by Tess, a delightfully cheeky child thief. Best of all is the detailed evocation of Victorian London. NICOLETTE JONES

The Cats' Turn

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

Amanda Craig reviews the following titles, seeing signs that cats are newly ascendant over dogs in terms of children's fiction:

Lionboy (Lionboy: The Truth, Puffin), hot on the heels of S. F Said�s Smarties prize-prize-winning series about the fighting cat Varjak Paw (The Outlaw Varjak Paw, David Fickling), Kate Saunders�s Cat and the Stinkwater War (Macmillan), the hugely popular Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter (Fire and Ice, HarperCollins) and Cat Kin (Lulu Press), an excellent debut by Nick Green

Ultimate Teen Book Guide

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Melvin Burgess (seen here with Leonie Flynn) was one of a host of authors present for last night's launch party for The Ultimate Teen Book Guide.

Daniel Hahn, the book's co-editor with Leonie Flynn and Susan Reuben, included in his talk a special tribute to an absent contributor, Jan Mark.

David Almond, who wrote the book's introduction, was one author unable to attend the event, as he was away in America. The bar, however, was serving a cocktail named after him, reputed to be very potent. ACHUKA stuck to red wine.

I was not an immediate fan of the first 'Ultimate' book (for 8-12s), although I warmed to it, and wrote in February 2004:

Hahn has several entries in the book and I am getting a feel for his style now - familiar, informal, conversational. "I laughed loads as I read this, and really, really wanted Nick to make it. And I readily confess to a big old lump in my throat at the end..." That's good. It makes me read the Tom Sawyer entry in a different light. That doesn't make it any better an entry, but I can hear Hahn's voice now, and it comes across as sincere and genuine - the voice of a warm-hearted advocate of children's books. I hope I haven't made an enemy of him.

Well, this new book is fantastic - infectiously enthusiastic for the books its multitude of contributors recommends. I'm hardpressed to think of any obvious omissions. There are one or two surprising inclusions (notably very recent novels of dubious durability), but the game of seeing what one's favourite authors recommend is endlessly fascinating and revealing.

Heartily recommended

Greyfriars Bobby

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Scotsman.com News - Scotland - Greyfriars Bobby was all new to director

THE director of a multi-million pound blockbuster version of the story of Greyfriars Bobby admitted at the premiere that he had not heard the story until he was asked to make the film. John Henderson, whose ?6 million movie The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby attracted a star-studded premiere at the Omni Centre last night, revealed that despite having a Scottish father and being born in Newcastle he was completely unaware of the classic tale...

Greyfrairs Bobby

Deakin Newsletter

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Deakin Newsletter February 2006

Andrea Deakin's highly recommended online monthly 'newsletter...

Lotte #47

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Lotte's sketchbook

One of Lotte's latest:

Lotte Klaver is a young Dutch illustrator. ACHUKA is continuing to feature 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.

The Dane Who...

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Scotsman.com News - International - The children's author who ignited a worldwide protest

KARE Bluitgen has just received a death threat. "Wanted: dead or alive" said the placards showing the Dane's face borne by crowds in Thailand in the latest protest against the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The news will not have come as a shock for Bluitgen, a children's author, who is well aware that he started the storm. It was his failed attempt to find artists to illustrate a book about the Prophet that prompted the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten to invite 12 illustrators to draw the Prophet as they saw him.

Recommended feature interview with Danish children's author...

New Zealand Shortlist

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Finalists for children's book awards - 08 Feb 2006 - Arts & literature

The finalists in the 10th annual New Zealand Post Book Awards for children's writing have been announced.

The finalists were selected from more than 120 children's books published in New Zealand in 2005 and submitted for the awards. The winners will be announced on May 17.

The finalists are:

Picture book

A Booming in the Night, by Ben Brown, illustrated by Helen Taylor (Reed Publishing)
Haere - Farewell, Jack, Farewell, by Tim Tipene, illustrated by Huhana Smith (Huia Publishers)
Nobody's Dog, by Jennifer Beck, illustrated by Lindy Fisher (Scholastic New Zealand)
*The Waka, by Jean Prior, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Scholastic New Zealand)
*Te Waka, by Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira and Jean Prior, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Scholastic New Zealand)
Where's the Gold? by Pamela Allen (Penguin Viking)
*The Waka and Te Waka are selected as joint finalists in English and te reo editions

Junior fiction

Hunter, by Joy Cowley (Puffin)
Maddigan's Fantasia, by Margaret Mahy (HarperCollins Publishers)
My Story: Chinatown Girl - The Diary of Silvey Chan, Auckland, 1942, by Eva Wong Ng (Scholastic NZ)
Sil, by Jill Harris (Longacre Press)
Super Freak, by Brian Falkner (Mallinson Rendel)

Young Adult

Deep Fried, by Bernard Beckett and Clare Knighton (Longacre Press)
Kaitangata Twitch, by Margaret Mahy (Allen & Unwin)
Running Hot, by David Hill (Mallinson Rendel)
The Unknown Zone, by Phil Smith (Random House New Zealand)
With Lots of Love from Georgia, by Brigid Lowry (Allen & Unwin)


Blue New Zealand: Plants, Animals, Environments - A Visual Guide, by Glenys Stace (Puffin)
Cameras in Narnia: How The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe came to life, by Ian Brodie (HarperCollins Publishers)
Frontier of Dreams: The Story of New Zealand - The Weight of World Wars 1897 - 1949, by John Parker (Scholastic New Zealand)
Peter Blake Sailor, Adventurer: The Story of a New Zealand Hero, by Alan Sefton (Puffin)
Scarecrow Army: The Anzacs at Gallipoli, by Leon Davidson (Black Dog Books)

Second Hand

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Bloomberg.com: Culture

Article about two second-hand bookstores in London specialising in children's books:

For more on Ripping Yarns, http://www.rippingyarns.co.uk .
For more on Ferrington, see http://www.ferrington.info

Time Warner Bought

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Publishing News - News

Publishing News reports:

WITH ITS SURPRISE purchase of the New York and London operations of the Time Warner Book Group, Lagard?-owned Hachette Livre has become the world's third largest publisher (behind Pearson and Bertlesmann) and the largest in the UK, with turnover of �266m and a market share 2% ahead of Random House.

Chronic Fatigue

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Inside story: chronic fatigue syndrome - Health - Times Online

Rachel Anderson based her now novel, This Strange New Life, on her family's experience of CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). In this Times article she talks about how it has affected two of her children.

Mock Matey

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Telegraph | Education

Andrew Cunningham, reviewing the book in The Telegraph on Saturday, welcomed the The Ultimate Teen Book Guide but voiced regrets over its length, the lack of colour inside and some of the wince-inducing commentary:

The guide's worst failing is the matey, mock-teenage tone too many of its adult reviewers affect. There's nothing teenagers despise more than adults trying to talk their language. One of the biggest offenders is Catherine Robinson, who peppers reviews with slangy terms stuffed with phoney teen-appeal, such as "seriously cool stuff!" and "lurve". Her comments on Rebecca (definitely in my all-time top 10) are particularly cringe-making: "One of my fave books ever - and if the ending doesn't leave you open-mouthed with disbelief� I'll eat my PC!"

Roman Mysteries For TV

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UK independent Suitable Viewing has announced its first television commission � a live action drama series commissioned by Jon East for CBBC, entitled THE ROMAN MYSTERIES and based on the best-selling novels written by Caroline Lawrence and published by Orion Children�s Books.

Suitable Viewing MD Martyn Auty says, �The Roman Mysteries are hugely popular amongst 7-14 year-olds and are best-sellers worldwide. We are thrilled to be adapting the books for our first television commission � the historical setting, pacey, mysterious plots, and strong original characters are perfect for the family audience for whom we at Suitable Viewing are specialists.�

Caroline Lawrence adds, �Roman Mysteries fans will be over the moon, and so am I. It�s a privilege to be working with Martyn Auty and his team, who are hugely enthusiastic about the series, and it�s an honour to be working with the BBC.�

Adapted for the small screen by BAFTA-nominated screenwriter Olivia Hetreed (The Girl with a Pearl Earring), The Roman Mysteries follows the adventures of four children aged 10-13 living in Rome circa 79AD. Every episode will see the gang � who are each from very different social and ethnic backgrounds � embark on a different mystery-solving escapade. The drama will take viewers into a world where children are called upon to tackle adult issues, confront crime, immorality and natural disasters, and to work out their own resolutions to the problems they face. Whilst being firmly and evocatively set in the 1st century, the characters� interests and concerns, including friendship, pets, clothes, make-up, family relationships, will have a contemporary, 21st century resonance.

Fiona Kennedy, Publisher at Orion Children�s Books, comments, �Caroline�s Roman Mysteries are perfect for live-action TV drama and we�re thrilled that Suitable Viewing are making the series for CBBC. This will obviously be a terrific boost for a series of novels that are already very popular worldwide.�

The series will be filmed on location in Bulgaria, Greece and Malta in order to reflect authentically the varied settings, which include rocky coastlines, mountains, towns and busy ports.

See www.romanmysteries.com

Like No One Else

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Teaching Ideas & Resources - TES - The Times Educational Supplement

Geraldine Brennan's celebration of Jan Mark, published in the 27 Jan edition of TES.

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

My Map Book by Sara Fanelli

This is certainly a book to look at and talk about before making your own versions of its maps. And, incidentally, it teaches children about basic counting, family relationships, colours and colour mixes, the meaning of traffic lights, the points of the compass and the language of a dog�s tail.

More Straightforward

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Filling in the Holes story

Josh Lacey reviews Small Steps, Louis Sachar's sequel to Holes...

The characters of Holes are complicated and contradictory; the prose is terse and witty and almost arrogantly self-confident; the plot is multi-layered, dodging back and forth in time and place, often forcing the reader to scamper desperately after the action, trying to catch up. Small Steps is more straightforward in every way. It's not as sophisticated or fascinating as Holes - but not many novels are.

Amanda Prefers Anthony

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

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

Amanda Craig reviews Blood Fever, the new 'Young Bond' title from Charlie Higson

Amanda Craig thinks that Anthony Horowitz's "inventiveness, wit, plotting and characterisations set a standard that is practically impossible for any children�s thriller writer to match" - so hard luck, Charlie Higson, you simply don't compare!

what is missing is a taut style, a plot that makes sense, a character that readers get involved with and a genuine sense of menace. At 372 pages, Blood Fever is too long, padded with unnecessary conversations and leaden cliche...

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