April 2007 Archives

Edinburgh's Impact

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Edinburgh Evening News - A novel look at tales of the city

In a short but revealing introduction to Reading Round Edinburgh, a guide to children's books set in the city, Rowling writes about the significant impact the city has had on her work.... ...

Jump to the link to find out what other authors say about the influence Edinburgh has had on their work.

Harry Horse Stage Show

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Stage Show Set To Commemorate Harry Horse (from Sunday Herald)

THREE MONTHS after his death, the life and work of Sunday Herald political cartoonist Harry Horse is set to be commemorated on stages across Scotland. Actor Tam Dean Burn, currently starring in the National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) production of Tutti Frutti, plans to create an as-yet-untitled show using Horse's words and images as well as unreleased tracks the illustrator recorded with his band Swamptrash. His aim is to undertake a national tour of the resulting show in the late autumn... ...

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 Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

Although the context is modern, the flavour is traditional, in the mould of Louisa May Alcott and E Nesbit. This is a gentle book, with a philosophy of kindness to others and a message that children should confide their troubles to adults, who should always listen...

Catherine Fisher Profile & Review

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Scared? You soon will be-Arts & Entertainment-Books-Children-TimesOnline

A profile of Catherine Fisher by Amanda Craig and review of her latest novel, Incarceron.

Whiff Of I Know What You Did...

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Review: Waves by Sharon Dogas | Review | Guardian Unlimited Books

Diane Samuels reviews Waves by Sharon Dogar

In fiction and film, summer holidays - the slit in the annual calendar through which young adults wriggle out of their childhood shells - have almost become synonymous with teenage sexual awakening. In Waves the sun shines bright. There's a sense of adventure, undress and sticky fingers. There are also too-late nights and menacing shadows. Sharon Dogar seizes the season with her own particular brand of probing, looming, sensual inquiry, as if she is determined to get to the heart of that metamorphosis from boy to man, girl to woman, and won't give up until she's nailed it. There's a whiff here of I Know What You Did Last Summer but nothing so crude as all-out horror, just the suggestion, the threat, a puzzle as to what has happened, how and why....

Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Shotlist

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Shortlist for 2007 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards

Shortlist for the 2007 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards

* Ancient Thunder
Written and illustrated by Leo Yerxa
Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press

* The Farm Team
Written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Bill Slavin
Kids Can Press

* Fox Walked Alone
Written and illustrated by Barbara Reid
North Winds Press/Scholastic Canada Ltd.

* Scaredy Squirrel
Written and illustrated by M?lanie Watt
Kids Can Press

* Snow
Written by Joan Clark and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press
Young Adult/Middle Reader Books

* I Am a Taxi
by Deborah Ellis
Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press

* Megiddo's Shadow
by Arthur Slade
HarperCollins Canada Ltd.

* Odd Man Out
by Sarah Ellis
Groundwood Books/House of Anansi

* Rex Zero and the End of the World
by Tim Wynne-Jones
Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press

* Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen
by Glen Huser
Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press

Teen Titles 38

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Another feature and review packed edition of the Scottish publication Teen Titles is just out.

To purchase an annual subscription of this highly recommended magazine,
contact Paul Berryman.


In response to Achuka's comment below about the whatisrobert.co.uk, Puffin would like readers to know that we have now frozen the site whilst we migrate it in order to hopefully avoid this type of posts in future. Although the site had been targeted by aggressive spammers in the last few weeks, we have had a moderator working on the site who was able to remove any offensive or irrelevant spam posts quickly. However, over this weekend, the volume of spam, some of it pornography related, unfortunately became too big for all spam to be successfully blocked which is why we have had to temporarily suspend the site.

Whatisrobert.co.uk has allowed Kevin Brooks' fans to discuss the philosophical issues arising from his book Being in an innovative way, inspiring threads and conversations which reach right across the country. Puffin put all necessary safeguards in place, including employing a part-time moderator, blocking suspicious IP addresses and having a list of banned words which, if contained in a post would trigger an email to the moderator who would then be able to remove the offensive material. Until this weekend, all questionable material was removed within a couple of hours of it going up, and as soon as we were made aware of its existence

Unfortunately creating a vibrant live online community means that everyone must be allowed to post. Some sites, for no real reason seem to attract high levels of spam and whatisrobert.co.uk unfortunately was one. We have come up with a solution which will be increasing the protection of the site, and will be putting it up again soon. I will post here when this has happened and it is safe (and possible) for readers to re-join the debate about Being.

Jodie Mullish
Publicity Manager
Puffin Books

Puffin Site Plagued By Porn

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The microsite set up by Puffin to help promote Kevin Brooks' latest novel Being is being routinely hit by porn spammers.

It's a mystery to ACHUKA that a site that must be costing the publisher a pretty penny cannot stamp this out.

Here is a screenshot taken at 8.15pm Sunday evening, showing the extent of the problem.

This is what you get if you click the 'Join the debate' link. Not quite what Carnegie 'shadowers' will be expecting!

If you actually venture into the forum you will find that the issue of porn spamming was first addressed a couple of months ago. Puffin's complacency in this matter is extremely surprising.

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

To Market! To Market! by Anushka Ravishankar ill. Emanuele Scanziani

The pictures transport you to somewhere real, and are full of incident for any child to pore over. Ravishankar is a well-known children�s poet, and her rhyming text travels well, with repetitions, and words whose size and shape illustrate their meaning, dancing about on the page. Moreover, the landscape format is unusually wide, and the spine is at the top, which is strange enough to be universally exciting. NICOLETTE JONES

I am so pleased that NJ has selected this title.

Have a look at some other titles from this excellent publishing house.

Join The Discussion

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A lively debate is developing between John Sedden and Jake Hope regarding the future of librarianship.

Join the discussion...


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originally uploaded by achuka.
In a unique collaboraration, illustrators Nick Sharratt and Chris Riddell [both well known as children's illustrators, and Riddell also as a political cartoonist] produced a joint illustration this afternoon as part of the official launching of Amnesty International's bookshop in Brighton.
A few more photos of the event can be seen on my flickr stream.

Hampshire Library Service Petition

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See John Sedden's post in ACHUKACHAT about plans to cut and deprofessionalise the Hampshire Library Service.

John Vernon Lord

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'The art of the people' | Review | Guardian Unlimited Books

Joanna Carey profiles John Vernon Lord


Drawing upon Drawing: 50 Years of Illustrating by John Vernon Lord is at the Brighton University Gallery, Grand Parade, Brighton, until May 5

The Owl Service Anniversary

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Two reasons to celebrate-Arts & Entertainment-Books-Children-TimesOnline

Amanda Craig greets the 40th anniversary of The Owl Service by Alan Garner:

The Owl Service, just reprinted with a postscript by its author, is 40 this year. Alan Garner�s novel is one of the first and best for and about teenagers; it remains one of the most original and gripping ghost stories....

Carnegie / Greenaway Shortlists

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Poll to pick best children's book prize winner | News | Guardian Unlimited Books

The shortlists for this year's awards are:

The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks
A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd
The Road of Bones by Anne Fine
Beast by Ally Kennen
Just in Case by Meg Rosoff
My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgewick

Kate Greenaway
The Elephantom by Ross Collins
Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon by Mini Grey
Scoop! An Exclusive by Monty Molenski, John Kelly and Cathy Tincknell
Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner
The Emperor of Absurdia by Chris Riddell

To help publiicise the award and encourage the public to vote online a panel chaired by Nicolette Jones selected the following Top Tens [follow the Guardian link for more details]

Top 10s Judges' choice of past winners

Carnegie medal winners

Skellig David Almond (1998)
Junk Melvin Burgess (1996)
Storm Kevin Crossley-Holland (1985)
A Gathering Light Jennifer Donnelly (2003)
The Owl Service Alan Garner (1967)
The Family From One End Street Eve Garnett (1937)
The Borrowers Mary Norton (1952)
Tom's Midnight Garden Philippa Pearce (1958)
Northern Lights Philip Pullman (1995)
The Machine-Gunners Robert Westall (1981)

Kate Greenaway medal winners

Each Peach Pear Plum Janet Ahlberg (1978)
Tim All Alone Edward Ardizzone (1956)
Mr Magnolia Quentin Blake (1980)
Father Christmas Raymond Briggs (1973)
Gorilla Anthony Browne (1983)
Borka John Burningham (1963)
I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato Lauren Child (2000)
Dogger Shirley Hughes (1977)
The Highwayman Charles Keeping (1981)
Alice in Wonderland Helen Oxenbury (1999)

Amnesty Bookshop Launch

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AIUK : UK: Famous Brighton illustrators draw crowds to Amnesty's new bookshop

Nick Sharratt, children's author and illustrator of the famous Jacqueline Wilson books, and Chris Riddell, co-creator of the bestselling Edge Chronicles series, [both Brighton residents] will together launch the new Amnesty International bookshop at 15 Sydney Street, Brighton on Saturday 21 April.

They will be producing an illustration and launching a colouring-in competition at around 1pm.

Dr Seuss - He Can Still Do It

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Telegraph newspaper online

Cassandra Jardine, writing in the Telgraph, describes how her son didn't enjoy reading, only being read TO, until... ...

His problem - one common to many children - is that the books he enjoys are too difficult for him to read fast enough to keep pace with the story. Left to battle on his own, he gives up after a few unfamiliar words or long sentences and turns to computer games, football cards and wildlife television programmes.

But one evening last week I came home to an unusual scene, courtesy of Dr Seuss...

Best Bookshop

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The Aberfeldy Watermill - Home

#1 in The Scotsman's Best Bookshop ratings:

Stunning conversion of a water mill, voted Scotland's best independent bookshop last May, a year after it was opened by Michael Palin. The largest bookshop in rural Highlands (5,000 titles), it has an excellent children's selection. Staff hold five Saturday children's reading groups, and next month the shop hosts its first children's book festival (12-13 May), featuring writers such as Mairi Hedderwick, Nicola Morgan and Keith Gray...

Photos Or Illustrations?

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Raisingkids: News - Daily Parenting News: Photos Illuminate Kids Reading

Traditional illustrations fare poorly in academic study... ...

LondonNet : Harry Potter World to open in Orlando, Florida

A Harry Potter theme park is opening in Florida, it has been reported.

Fans of the popular children's book series will soon be able to step into the young wizard's magical world as Universal Studios is reportedly close to making a deal to build Harry Potter World in Orlando...

Ooh, Goodie!

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AHN | Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell To Publish Children's Books | April 16, 2007

Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, best known as Ginger Spice, has signed a six-book publishing deal with MacMillan Children's books. Halliwell's books center around a nine-year-old girl named Ugenia Lavendar who solves mysteries when she's not in school. AP reports that Halliwell, 34, said the books will be somewhat like "'Alice in Wonderland' meets 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.'"...

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

Un Lun Dun by China Mi�ville

This teeming, inventive tale of friendship, duty, courage and loyalty makes extraordinary use of the ordinary, not least in its unposh heroine, who is given to using double negatives, but earns general respect and glory.

Prancing Off The Page

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There�s a conspiracy here-Arts & Entertainment-Books-Children-TimesOnline

Amanda Craig has mixed feelings about historical fiction, but she admires Mary Hoffman's new book, The Falconer's Knot

a spirited thriller that prances off the page with its author�s lively enjoyment of her subject...

Well Braided

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Lucas's change of heart | Review | Guardian Unlimited Books

Anne Karpf enjoys Jenny Valentine's Finding Violet Park

...Adolescents dreamed up by adults are almost always supersensitive and articulate about their anomie. What marks this book out is not just its charm, warmth and wit but also the skill with which Valentine braids together the father thread and the detective one without either quest feeling laboured...

Fast-Track Publication

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Delivered Spring '07
Published Summer of �07


David Fickling has issued a press release explaining why this novel, acquired from Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Agency, is to be published at breakneck speed.

ST Easter Rounduop

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Nicely Handled

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Review: Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy | Review | Guardian Unlimited Books

Philip Ardagh likes Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

It's exciting, pacy, nicely handled and it's fun...

Titan's Curse

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Gods� gift to a son and the world at large-Arts & Entertainment-Books-Children-TimesOnline

Amanda Craig on Rick Riordan and his latest novel Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse
more of an author fieature than a review....

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

Here's A Little Poem: A very First Poetry Book ed. Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters, ill Polly Dunbar

This lovely book deserves a place in every playgroup and child�s library. NICOLETTE JONES

Emily Gravett Feature + Easter 3

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The road less travelled | Saturday Magazine | Arts | Telegraph

From her time as a dreadlocked, carefree traveller to her incarnation as an award-winning children�s writer, Emily Gravett has never chosen a conventional route. By Sally Williams

Recommended Telegraph feature, which includes an audio slideshow.

Saturday's paper also included a two-and-a-half page roundup of children's book reviews: Sam Leith on the autobiographies by Jacqueline Wilson and Allan Ahlberg; Lorna Bradbury on picture books; Judith Woods on younger fiction; Helen Brown on older fiction for girls; and Toby Clements on older fiction for boys. How lamentable that there is such a perceived gender divide opening up in this audience!

I haven't been able to locate hyperlinks for the reviews. If anyone can, let me know.

Easter Roundup 2 - The Scotsman

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The Scotsman - Critique - What's the story?

This online version of The Scotsman's Easter roundup of children's books reviews makes it appear that Kathryn Ross is the sole reviewer, whereas the teenage fiction section is by me.

I'm not as worried by the lack of mention of my name as by the garbled final paragraph of the review which makes it appear that Sharon Dogar's excellent first novel Waves includes an apparently fatal road accident. It is indeed Dogar's book that I thought would make "great TV drama" but it is Elise Broach's American novel Desert Crossing that concerns the teenagers caught in a rainstorm while on a long night drive. I haven't yet been able to check whether or not the paper edition prints the paragraph as below, or as I submitted it. [The sentecnes underlined refer to the highly-recommedned Desert Crossing.]

Waves by Sharon Dogar (Chicken House, �9.99) is one of those "what happened last summer" tales. Hal, 15, returns to Cornwall with his family while his sister, Charley, remains in a coma after an accident that happened on the previous year's trip. Dogar reveals last year's events in an expertly teasing manner. Philip Pullman accurately describes the book as "sensuous and sinister". Three teenagers on a long drive are caught in a rainstorm and hit something. They stop, and find a dead girl at the side of the road. The consequences, after they call at a nearby house, make engrossing reading. The story would also make for a great TV drama.

Easter Roundup - Times

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How to survive the hols-Arts & Entertainment-Books-Children-TimesOnline

Amanda Craig's Easter roundup from Saturday's Times...

Author Websites

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To meet the author, right click-Arts & Entertainment-Books-TimesOnline

A writer�s website once meant a blurry headshot, a biog and a backlist. Now a new world is opening up online. And it�s not just for the geeks, Tom Cox says...

focuses on authors of adult books (and Jasper Fforde's in particular), but interesting nevertheless


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Passion for life | Review | Guardian Unlimited Books

Meg Rosoff reviews Take Off Your Party Dress by Dina Rabinovitch who was looking party-dress-radiant earlier in the week in the photo illustration that accompanied a long feature article by her to promote the book.

Unfortunatley, you don't get to see the photo, but you can read the piece:

Better still, buy the book:

or make a donation to her fundraising page for the the CTRT Appeal

The CTRT Appeal for �1,000,000 has been set up to fund the expansion of a cancer research team at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, including highly-skilled doctors, research fellows, nurses, data managers and technicians, and to build a dedicated research unit where patients can be treated and monitored.

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