March 2007 Archives

Useful Primer

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Review: Unheard Voices edited by Malorie Blackman | Review | Guardian Unlimited Books

a useful primer for younger readers who have only the faintest idea of what the slave trade - let alone its abolition - was all about.

Kathryn Huighes, on Unheard Voices, an introduction to the horrors of the slave trade edited by Malorie Blackman

Dangerous Book

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Danger Was Their Game - 3/29/2007 1:30:00 PM - Publishers Weekly

A year after its U.K. publication, The Dangerous Book is still in Amazon�s top 20, and HarperCollins will publish it in the U.S. in May, touting the publication with a video ad, Today Show appearance, Vanity Fair interview, and events at Borders and L.L.Bean...

Publishers Weekly piece, containing short interview

Bollocks With Eyes

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Gervais triumphs over Pratchett in British Book Awards - Independent Online Edition > News

Ricky Gervais wins British Book Award:

Peter Kay and Ricky Gervais are accustomed to receiving acclaim at awards ceremonies. But it was for their literary efforts, not their wit, that they were named winners last night at the Galaxy British Book Awards, the UK's biggest celebration of publishing. Gervais beat established writers including Geraldine McCaughrean and Terry Pratchett to take the children's book of the year honour with Flanimals of the Deep, the third in the series he has produced with the illustrator Rob Steen. Gervais accepted his award live on stage in Ipswich. "That's fantastic ... it's the first one for my literary outputs," he said, admitting his work had been described as "books about bollocks with eyes drawn on them".

Chooseco Suit

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Vermont publisher sues over "Choose Your Adventure" Jeep ads

A children's book publisher filed a trademark suit Wednesday against DaimlerChrysler, saying a new ad campaign for Jeep Patriot infringes on the trademark of "Choose Your Own Adventure," a popular series of books. Jeep's new ads use the tag line: "Choose Your Adventure." A spokesman for Chrysler said he was shocked the suit was filed, and that the parties had been negotiating in hopes of reaching a settlement. Chooseco LLC, which recently began re-issuing the R.A. Montgomery books, filed the suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Burlington... ...

Children's Books From Holland

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from the blog of Dutch author, Ted van Lieshout

Semi Juicy Scandal

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Read Roger

Roger Sutton, editor of The Horn Book, (re)draws attention (in his Blog entry for March 27th) to what he calls the 'semi-juicy scandal' surrounding Alyssa Brugman's objection to the selling on eBay of proof copies, or ARCs as they are known in the US.

Harry Covers

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Modern-Day Cain And Abel

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I was a ferocious child-Life & Style-Women-TimesOnline

A significant number of readers will need no introduction to Horrid Henry, but for those who have not been within pea-shooting distance of a child recently, suffice to say that scheming, subversive Henry and his saintly, simpering brother Perfect Peter are our modern-day Cain and Abel, and a publishing phenomenon...

Recommended long feature about Francesca Simon, creator of Horrid Henry.

DVD released next month - pre-order


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The Welsh Books Council has announced the titles on the short list of the prestigious Tir na n-Og Awards 2007 which recognise the exceptional quality and range of books for children and teenagers.

The Awards are presented annually by the Books Council to acknowledge the work of authors and illustrators of children�s books in three categories: the best English-language book, the best Welsh-language book for the primary sector and the best Welsh-language book for the secondary sector. Two of the awards are sponsored by CILIP Wales.

The winners of the Awards will be announced on �Wedi 7�, on S4C in May.

The following titles have been nominated for this year�s short list:

Best English-language Category
Dark Tales From the Wood, Daniel Morden (Gomer/Pont Books)
Gatty�s Tale, Kevin Crossley-Holland (Orion Publishing)
The Telling Pool
, David Clement-Davies (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Best Welsh-language Primary Category
Babi Gwyrdd, Emily Huws (Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion)
Ein Rhyfel Ni, Mair Wynn Hughes (Gwasg y Bwthyn)
Y Wisg Enfys, Catherine Fisher (Gwasg Gomer)

Best Welsh-language Secondary Category
Adref Heb Elin, Gareth F. Williams (Gwasg Gomer)
Angst ac Anawsterau, Angharad Devonald (Dref Wen)
Ff�c Tan, Rissole a Tships, Caryl Lewis (Gwasg Gomer)

Writing Competition

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So you want to be a writer? Now's your chance

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition is an annual competition for young people which runs in conjunction with the prestigious Branford Boase Award for debut children's fiction. The competition is open to any young writer under the age of 19. Six winners are invited to the celebration party in London at which the Branford Boase Award is given. There they can meet authors, editors, publishers, agents, and other professionals in this field.

Entrants must complete a story begun by last year's winner, Frances Hardinge, author of Fly by Night, and submit it by Friday 25th May. Full details, along with the starter paragraph from Frances Hardinge, can be found on

Mortal Ghost Podcasts

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Mortal Ghost Podcasts ? Podcasts of a YA Fantasy Novel by L. Lee Lowe

L. Lee Lowe's online novel, Mortal Ghost, is also available in podcast format (Chapters 1 - 5 currently), read by Bill Uden, theatre student and lead singer of the band Primal Jukebox.

Open Book

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Mary Hoffman appeared on Open Book, Radio 4, yesterday, talking about her new book The Falconer�s Knot, and discussing historical fiction with Caroline Lawrence. The programme is repeated on Thursday 29th March and can be heard on the Radio 4 website.

ST Book Of The Week

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Children�s book of the week-Arts & Entertainment-Books-TimesOnline

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

The Boyhood Of Burglar Bill by Allan Ahlberg

a classic document about Britain as it was, every description careful and accurate (the �crazings� of drying mud on knees, as it falls away in �eggshell layers�), as well as comic, poignant and true. Anyone will be enriched by reading it. NICOLETTE JONES

Alexis Deacon

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Brain theatre | Review | Guardian Unlimited Books

Joanna Carey marvels at the skill and inventiveness of Alexis Deacon ...

One of The Guardian's occasional profiles of children's illustrators.

Highly Recommended

Blogroll Call

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A Fuse #8 Production

Highly Recommended blog.

We'll be adding it to the blogroll shortly.

Chicklit Blog

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Teen Chicklit blog - worth a look


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What makes a classic?-incomingFeeds-TimesOnline

What makes a classic?
Will Everyman�s gift of fine books stay on the classrooom shelf?

Amanda Craig attempts to answer...

Bisto Shortlist

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RT?.ie Entertainment: 10 nominees for Best Children's Book

The nominations for the 17th Bisto Book of the Year Awards have been announced:

Kate Thompson 'The Fourth Horseman'.
John Boyne 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas'
Eoin Colfer 'Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony'
Oliver Jeffers 'The Incredible Book Eating Boy'
Siobhan Parkinson 'Something Invisible'
Jon Berkeley 'The Palace of Laughter'
iobhan Dowd 'A Swift Pure Cry'
PJ Lynch 'A Christmas Carol'
Eilis Ni Dhuibhne 'Hurlamaboc'
Colman O Raghallaigh 'An Tain'

Newes From The Dead

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Random House Children�s Books has announced the sale of Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper to Simon Boughton of Roaring Brook Press (Holtzbrink Group) in the US. This sale comes after a hotly contested auction and was brokered by Linda Summers, Associate Publisher (Rights) at Random House Children�s Books.

German rights have been bought by Verlagsgruppe Random House and French rights by Editions du Panama.

Charlie Sheppard, Editorial Director of Children�s Fiction at RHCB, who acquired this title from Rosemary Canter at PFD, comments: �This is an incredible novel and all the more powerful because it�s based on a true story. I was thrilled that we had so much interest from the US and I�m delighted that Simon will be publishing this book. I look forward to raising a glass of bubbly with him in Bologna and drinking to the success of this exciting acquisition�.

Bloomsbury Signing

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Bloomsbury will publish Susan Hill's new novel, THE BATTLE FOR GULLYWITH, in 2008 on their children's list. Hill, who started writing the story on her website says, 'When my daughters were young, I wrote a dozen or so children`s books for them, mainly picture books and stories for children up to about 6 or 7. But although they grew up I did not... in that, I never thought of writing a children`s book for 8 or 10 or 12 year olds. I don`t know why. But now, with the girls safely out of the way at 29 and 21, I have begun one, for, roughly, ages 7-11 or thereabouts. And I decided to do something different with it, at least initially. I am going to put the first four chapters, one by one, up here on the blog. And then no more. And I would love feedback, not from adults, but from 7-11 year olds - even though some of them may send their comments via
their grown-ups.'
The response was such that Susan's agent submitted the manuscript as it stood to publishers, and Bloomsbury was successful in its bid.

Astrid Lindgren

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Sweden marks Lindgren, Linnaeus anniversaries this year

Sweden is preparing a host of special events this year to commemorate children's author Astrid Lindgren, who would have turned 100 this year, as well as the 300th anniversary of the birth of botanist Carl Linnaeus.Lindgren, who died in 2002, was the creator of the character Pippi Longstocking. In May, an Astrid Lindgren Museum is due to be dedicated at Nas, a farm outside the town of Vimmerby, in the province of Smaland, where Lindgren was born. ...

ST Book Of The Week

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Children�s book of the week-Arts & Entertainment-Books-TimesOnline

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

Being by Kevin Brooks

Although this novel reads like a thriller, with action and surprises, it is a meditation on the nature of humanity: it asks what it means to be yourself. The end, frustratingly, does not offer answers to all the questions posed by the plot, but it does suggest that to feel, and to love, is enough. NICOLETTE JONES

As Moving As Black Beauty

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From the horse's mouth | Review | Guardian Unlimited Books

Mary Hoffman reviews I Am The Great Horse by Katherine Roberts

Roberts wears her considerable research lightly, and you never question for a minute that this was how Alexander came to rule the Mediterranean and the east, from Macedonia to India. But it is not romanticised; you feel the glory of victory but also see how it ultimately corrupts the victor. And the end, for both king and horse, is as moving as anything I've read in a children's book, including Black Beauty.

Times Reviews

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Worm that doesn�t turn-Arts & Entertainment-Books-Children-TimesOnline

Amanda Craig reviews the following:

Boobela and Worm by Joe Friedman and Sam Childs
The Tinderbox by Hans Christian Andersen
Akimbo and the Snakes by Alexander McCall Smith

Boys' Shelf

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How a new age of heroes could help boys read | News | Guardian Unlimited Books

Every secondary school library should have a "boys' bookshelf" stacked with contemporary authors such as Melvyn Burgess and Anthony Horowitz to provide "positive, modern, relevant role models" for boys who are reluctant to read or nervous about being bullied as a "swot", [Alan Johnson, UK government education minister] told a Fabian Society meeting in London.

Astrid Lindgren Award

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Venezuelan book network Banco del Libro wins Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award - International Herald Tribune

Banco del Libro, a non-profit Venezuelan network that has been distributing books to children for nearly half a century, was chosen Wednesday as the 2007 winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature. The award, which includes a cash prize of 5 million kronor (�540,000; US$710,000), was established by the Swedish government in 2002 and is the largest children's book award in the world.

Charlie Higson Feature

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Mad about the boy Bond-Life & Style-Women-Body & Soul-TimesOnline

Charlie Higson, who writes the Young Bond novels, knows what's going on in the heads of boys aged 10 to 13....

Long recommended feature from Saturday's Times

Gently Amusing

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Independent Online Edition > Reviews

Nick Tucker's review of Jacqueline Wilson's autobiography, Jacky Daydream, from The Independent On Sunday:

This gently amusing account of her first 11 years is written with apparent total recall. It also provides an excellent guide to the often overlooked changes for the better that have happened to most children's lives since 1945, the year she was born.

Poet Bursting With Projects

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Poet Jenny Joseph tells The Scotsman she is burst with ideas for children's books:

...far from tidying up loose ends, she is bursting with new projects: children's books - "but children's book are so dominated even more by fashion, I'll get them written and put them by and then they'll be there if anyone wants to publish them"; ...

Highly Recommended as a general feature about Jenny Joseph

ST Book Of The Week

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Children's book of the week-Arts & Entertainment-Books-TimesOnline

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

Jacky Daydream by Jacqueline Wilson

Wilson has aimed this autobiography, which takes her up to the age of not quite 12 years old, at her young readers. It concentrates on her clothes, schoolfriends, toys, seaside holidays (full of 1950s detail) and the books she liked to read. It quotes passages from her work that have come out of her own experiences. She does not try to be serious or analytical about her psyche and the book�s tone is chipper...

Substance & Charm

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It�s easy when you know how-Arts & Entertainment-Books-Children-TimesOnline

Giles Andreae on what makes a good children's book (allegedly):

Writing a children�s book can take no time at all. I know I shouldn�t say this, but some of mine take only a day or two to write. For this reason, it�s something a lot of people are tempted to have a go at. Why not? After all, you get a lovely warm feeling having a children�s book published. It�s wholesome, happy, friendly, doesn�t involve long commutes, scratchy suits, unsociable hours, irascible bosses . . . you get the picture. But this means that publishers are inundated with texts, hundreds of them � thousands � piled up by every desk in the editorial department. Your idea really has to shine. But how? Two of the most important keys, I reckon, are substance and charm.... ...

Something Edgier

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

Hmmm! Philip Ardagh says he was expecting something 'edgier' in his review of Being, Kevin Brooks' first novel for Puffin.
Something edgier than the opening, when the hero is cut open on the operating tabe while fully conscious?
It's a curious review, because Ardagh admits that Brooks handles both aspects of the book - the thriller and the philososphical stand about identity - "expertly". And yet, he ends on this note. The kind of review, one imagines, (and I've probably been guilty of wiritng a few myself) thay must be very frustrating for an author to read.

I was expecting something edgier and more intense. Had Being been the work of a new writer, I'd be singing its praises - though, sadly, not necessarily in print. As it is, I've come to expect a further dimension from Brooks which, for me, this book doesn't deliver. But there's nothing wrong with going more mass market and, if it hooks in new Brooks fans who then go on to read his earlier work, all the better.


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It�s no fun being a girl-Arts & Entertainment-Books-Children-TimesOnline

GIRLS NOW SEEM SO much in the ascendant, triumphing over boys in exams and trumpeting girl power, that it�s easy to forget how vulnerable, unhappy and uncertain their common lot still is. I am sick of the flood of pink books I get sent, tittering over dates and discos like an eternal sleepover party. Even when genuinely funny � those by Louise Rennison or Sue Limb, for example � they don�t probe any deeper into what Louisa May Alcott dubbed �girlitude�... ...

So starts Amanda Criag's review of

Dirty Work by Julia Bell


Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer

YA Growth

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Teens buying books at fastest rate in decades

Another piece about Young Adult literature

"Kids are buying books in quantities we've never seen before," said Booklist magazine critic Michael Cart, a leading authority on young adult literature. "And publishers are courting young adults in ways we haven't seen since the 1940s." Credit a bulging teen population, a surge of global talent and perhaps a bit of Harry Potter afterglow as the preteen Muggles of yesteryear carry an ingrained reading habit into later adolescence. Not only are teen book sales booming -- up by a quarter between 1999 and 2005, by one industry analysis -- but the quality is soaring as well. Older teens in particular are enjoying a surge of sophisticated fare as young adult literature becomes a global phenomenon. ...


Redefining YA

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Redefining the Young Adult Novel

L. Lee Lowe sent me the link to this excellent Horn Book essay about 'crossover' YA literature a few days ago, and I've only just had time to check it out.

It's Highly Recommended

Un Lun Dun

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"Un Lun Dun" | Salon Books

Enthusiastic Salon review for Un Lun Dun, the first children's novel by adult SF and fantasy writer, China Mieville

50 Year Old Cat

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Hats off to a 50-year-old Cat | By genre | Guardian Unlimited Books

Interview with Theodor Geisel's widow:

This month the first, ground-breaking Cat in the Hat book is 50 years old. Jammed full of jazz rhythms and rhymes, in 1957 it was so utterly unlike anything else around that the author (also known as Theodor Geisel) struggled to get it published. After 27 separate attempts he was on the point of giving up. 'He was going to toss the book into the nearest wastepaper basket,' said Audrey Geisel, Theodor's 85-year-old widow...

Virtual World

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Are you surfing comfortably? | Special reports |

Recommended piece from The Observer, in which CBBC chief Richard Deverell talks to Tara Conlan ahead of the move north and says some interesting things about the way children are at the vanguard of new media audiences:

...One of the BBC's key strategies is a 'virtual world' it is creating for kids. Similar in concept to Second Life, although the characters will not be able to interact with each other, it will allow children to build their own characters, or 'avatars'. They can then explore and interact with BBC content in a safe environment. A name for the world needs to be decided before the launch later this year; 'Adventure Rock' is the latest proposal....

Graphic User Interface

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The image-soaked future-Arts & Entertainment-Books-TimesOnline

Bryan Appleyard, from a recommended piece on graphic novels in yestersday's Sunday Times (Culture section):

... ...why is this rebirth of the serious graphic novel different? Because this new wave arrives when the ascendancy of the image � presciently described by George Steiner, in 1971, in his book In Bluebeard�s Castle � has begun to dwarf the power of the word. The visual arts are booming. The screen fills our lives through television, cinema and computers. Thanks to computers, even when we are obliged to read words, we expect them to be arranged in helpful modules, with plenty of graphics. The computer normalises the graphic novel as a form. The graphical user interface may one day be seen as the most important invention of our time. Through such devices, the imperial image reigns and is, more successfully than ever before, invading the book. Good thing, bad thing? Who knows? For me, these books are hard work. I can�t relax into their images in my mind, as I do with a conventional novel. The author�s versions keep dragging me back. But I guess they�re not for me. They�re for the kids sprawling in the graphic-novels section.

ST Book Of The Week

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Children's book of the week-Arts & Entertainment-Books-TimesOnline

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

Dexter Bexley And The Big Blue Beast by Joel Stewart

This book is an inspired celebration of imaginative play, working at simple and sophisticated levels, in real time and fantasy time. It is comic, suspenseful and tender, has surprising developments, and Stewart�s grainy, surreal, retro images � with, for instance, a mountainous sundae, a beastie whose face looks as though it has been torn off at the edge and characters tied up with sausages � are a delight. NICOLETTE JONES

Giant Leap Forward

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Psst, want to join a conspiracy?-Arts & Entertainment-Books-Children-TimesOnline

"Voake�s third novel is a giant leap forward from his debut, The Dreamwalker�s Child," says Amanda Craig in her review of his third children's novel, The Starlight Conspiracy

Voake�s third novel is a giant leap forward from his debut, The Dreamwalker�s Child.

Judged By The Highest Standards

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Into the shadows | Review | Guardian Unlimited Books

There isn't anything like the grand intellectual ambition of Pullman here; none of the serious moral intelligence of His Dark Materials. Likewise, while the horror elements should appeal to Shan fans looking for their next fix, Becker doesn't yet have Shan's command of tone. Where Shan excels at building a sense of creeping unease, keeping the tension levels constantly rising, Becker is a little too preoccupied with plot mechanics to create genuine terror.

"All of which is to judge a first novel by the very highest standards," adds S F Said, in his review of Tom Becker's Darkside.

Shanville Monthly

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Shanville Monthly 80

The March edition of SHANVILLE MONTHLY includes the intinerary for Darren Shans US tour in April.

World Book Day Poll

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Pride and Prejudice the most precious as modern readers turn over an old leaf | News | Guardian Unlimited Books

Spot the children's books that make it into the top 100 poll for World Book Day. 2,000 people who took part in the poll online at

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