May 2008 Archives

Red House Children's Book Award Winners 2008

ACHUKA was away for a couple of days so apologises for the late notice of this result, which was announced yesterday evening (30th June), at the Hay Festival.

The outright winner was

Skulduggery Pleasant byDerek Landy
Older Readers

Other Category Winners were

Penguin by Polly Dunbar
Younger Children

Ottoline and the Yellow Cat by Chris Riddell
Younger Readers


The Children's Book Award was founded in 1980 by author & librarian Pat Thompson and is run by a team of dedicated volunteers from the Federation of Children's Book Groups (FCBG), a registered charity who aims to encourage children to read for pleasure.
The FCBG was set up as a charity by Anne Wood, the originator of the Tellytubbies. They act as an umbrella organisation for local Children's Book Groups all over the UK. The groups organise a variety of activities including author events and other activities that promote the enjoyment of children's books. The Federation also produces numerous specialist book lists, organises National Share-a-Story Month each May and holds an annual conference each spring.
Red House became the Award's sponsor in 2001.

CLPE Poetry Award Shortlist

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The shortlist for the 2008 CLPE Poetry Award is as follows:

Carol Ann Duffy: The Hat, illustrated by David Whittle, Faber & Faber £9.99

David Harmer: Pirate Poems, illustrated by Matt Buckingham, Macmillan £3.99

Diana Hendry and Hamish Whyte (editors): Poems United. A Commonwealth Anthology, Black & White Publishing £7.99

Jackie Kay: Red Cherry Red, illustrated by Rob Ryan, Bloomsbury £6.99

John Mole: This is the Blackbird, illustrated by Mary Norman, Peterloo Poets £7.95

Sam Taplin (compiler): The Usborne Book of Poetry, illustrated by Kristina Swamer, Usborne £14.99

The judges are Julie Johnstone, Ian McMillan and Fiona Waters, and the judging panel is chaired by Margaret Meek Spencer.

The winner of the 2008 Award will be announced at a ceremony at the South Bank Centre on Tuesday July 1st 2008.

The CLPE Poetry Award for a book of poetry for children was launched by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education in 2003. Previous winners have included John Agard, Grace Nichols and Roger McGough. The Award is sponsored by Mr and Mrs Pye's Charitable Foundation.

Canadian Book Award

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The winner of the 2008 Canadian Jewish Book Award (The Frances and Samuel Stein Memorial Award in Youth Literature) is Out of Line: Growing up Soviet by Tina Grimberg (Tundra Books)

The Koffler Centre of the Arts in Toronto, has announced the winners of the 20th anniversary Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards. The Awards celebrate excellence in Canadian writing reflecting Jewish themes and subjects including history, fiction, Yiddish and other fields.

The 2008 winners are:

The Joseph and Faye Tanenbaum Award in History
Kasztner's Train: The True Story of Rezsö Kasztner, Unknown Hero of the Holocaust
by Anna Porter
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

The Beatrice and Martin Fischer Award in Fiction
A Sharp Intake of Breath
by John Miller
Publisher: The Dundurn Group

The Frances and Samuel Stein Memorial Award in Youth Literature
Out of Line: Growing up Soviet
by Tina Grimberg
Publisher: Tundra Books

The Samuel and Rose Cohen Memorial Award in Biography/Memoir
They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in
Poland Before the Holocaust
by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Mayer Kirshenblatt
Publisher: University of California Press

The Abe and Fay Bergel Award in Scholarship on a Jewish Subject
Converts, Heretics, and Lepers: Maimonides and the Outsider
by James Diamond
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press

The Abraham and Eve Trapunski Award in Yiddish Literature
Representing the Immigrant Experience: Morris Rosenfeld and the Emergence of Yiddish Literature in America
by Marc Miller
Publisher: Syracuse University Press

The Canadian Jewish News Award in Poetry
Laike and Nahum: A Poem in Two Voices
by Ruth Panofsky
Publisher: Inanna Publications and Education Inc.

The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem Award in Holocaust Memoir and Literature

Bits and Pieces
by Henia Reinhartz
Publisher: The Azrieli Foundation

This was an exceptional year for Canadian books reflecting Jewish themes. Over one hundred submissions were considered by a distinguished jury, chaired by writer Edward Trapunski, along with Cynthia Good, Sara Horowitz, Marjorie Gann, Judy Wolfe, Beatrice Fischer, Adam Fuerstenberg, Judith Ghert, and Dorothy Shoichet.

The Awards will be presented by the Koffler at a special ceremony in Toronto on June 4th at 8:00 PM at the Leah Posluns Theatre, 4588 Bathurst St. This free event is open to the public and all are welcome. Complete details on the event and all the winners are available at


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Busy, colourful Blog (in French) by the author, Véronique Massenot.


Wiki Woe

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I've had to admit temporary defeat with the Wiki transfer, having already wasted far too many hours trying to fathom why the database will not transfer properly from the old host to the new. If anyone can point me in the direction of someone who might be able to help out in this regard, I'd be very grateful.
So, for the time being, links to the wiki on the navigation bar have been removed, to be replaced by a link to the reviews section.

A thriller in ten chapters

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10 Chapters

An interesting and thought-provoking look back over the last decade by Robert McCrum who was The Observer's literary editor during that period.

When I joined The Observer in 1996, the world of books was in limbo between hot metal and cool word processing, but it would have been recognisable to many of our past contributors, from George Orwell and Cyril Connolly, to Anthony Burgess and Clive James. Everything smelled of the lamp. It was a world of ink and paper; of cigarettes, coffee and strong drink. Our distinguished critic George Steiner used to submit his copy in annotated typescript.

Now that world is more or less extinct...

Certainly things have changed a lot since I founded ACHUKA in the summer of 1997. Then very few publishers had their own websites and only a handful of publicity departments were using email. McCrum chooses 1997 as the start of the new era because it was the year New Labour came to power, 'the year Random House launched its website' and the year the first Harry Potter novel was published.

I think McCrum gets his chapter about J. K. Rowling a little wrong, but it is probably only those of us who were in the business of reviewing children's books at the time who really know the extent that Bloomsbury did indeed vigorously hype the first Harry Potter novel.

But for us the most interesting and thought-provoking chapter is Chapter 8 Blogs Vs Reviewing. McCrum describes how in America online reviewing is quickly killing off or severely shrinking the amount of print space accorded books in newspapers. Here in the UK the most noticeable sign that we are headed down the same route is what has happened to book reviewing in the TES, since Geraldine Brennan's departure as books editor last autumn. Brennan had a team of experienced, knowledgable reviewers. Children's books were accorded a decent amount of space (thanks to Brennan's stalwart defence of her corner) and new titles of note could be assured a review in the TES if not elsewhere. Now the reviews are written by any TES readers who volunteer, rather than by a team of tried, tested (and paid!) reviewers.

Some take a very positive view of this democratization of reviewing. McCrum is not one of them.

Now these book blogs - in Britain, for example, a highly responsible site like Vulpes Libris - could take over and hand the power back to - time honoured term - the Common Reader. My view is that the Common Reader generates more heat than light. On closer scrutiny, we find that this creature, as fabled as the hippogriff, is just as uncertain as everyone else. The equation of Amazon plus Microsoft has left the Common Reader dazed and confused.

What do YOU think?

ST Book Of The Week

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Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems

Alive & Kicking

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Superheroes Reviewed

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Superhero Titles Reviewed by Amanda Craig in The Times:

Amazing Tales for Making Men out of Boys by Neil Oliver (Penguin, £17.99, 12+)
Superpowers by David J. Schwartz (Vintage, £7.99, 14+)
Dusk by Kenneth Oppel (Faber, £6.99, 10+)
Jimmy Coates: Survival by Joe Craig (HarperCollins, £5.99, 10+)
The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer (Puffin, £12.99, 11+)
The Spook's Mistake by Joseph Delaney (Bodley Head, £9.99, 11+)
The Crossing of Ingo by Rick Riordan (Puffin, £9.99, 10+)
The Battle of the Labyrinth by Helen Dunmore (HarperCollins, £12.99, 10+)

Harry Potter boring, says UK Children's laureate, Michael Rosen

ST Book Of The Week

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Just Henry by Michelle Magorian

Written with scrupulous attention to period detail, this novel displays Magorian's talent for emotional involvement and despicable villains - and would constitute a cinema course if it inspired viewing of all the films it mentions. NICOLETTE JONES

Boston Globe review

"The Penderwicks on Gardam Street" rings autumnal from the get-go: It begins with a death, and leaps forward four years into "late September," which canters to "an early frost, and by Sunday morning, autumn had truly arrived. The sky was a rich cloudless blue, the air still and dry, the maple trees glowing." In addition to lovely prose, one may count on Birdsall for character and comedy. Adult readers will be quick to spot the true romances in this book, but the unfolding of the plot, the delight of that unfolding, and Birdsall's confident, lively writing are the keys to the series's ongoing success.

Guardian Review

Diane Samuels reviews Bearkeeper by Josh Lacey:

a highly enjoyable read that firmly hooks into the turn of the 17th century, triggers interest in Shakespeare's plays and makes you pause to think about cruelties humans inflict on animals, now as well as then

Amanda Craig interviews Celia Rees

Although I don't share Craig's analysis that Rees's Witch Child "began the new wave of historical fiction for young adults" - what about Karen Cushman? - I have always admired Rees's work and am looking forward to reading the new novel.

The May edition of Andrea Deakin's online newsletter

Highly Recommended as always - worth a click just for the Cumulative Featured Website listing.

Here also is the April edition , which we fear may have suffered lack of mention during ACHUKA's recent interruption of service

Imaginaria » Roberto Innocenti

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Roberto Innocenti

Recommended Imaginaria entry about the superb Italian illustrator Roberto Innocenti

ST Book of the Week

The Dragonfly Pool reads like two stories in one: the tale of Delderton and the children who learn to be themselves under such teachers as Matteo, whose biology classes can take place at 4am; and the story of Bergania and unhappy Prince Karil, who finds secret solace by the pool of the title, hidden in the forest. But the parts are knitted together by their celebration of humanity NICOLETTE JONES

Just Henry reviewed in Guardin too

Part of the pleasure for the reader lies in the well-loved themes of overcoming difficulties, of making do (for instance, in a wonderful description of making a doll's cot and bedding out of an orange box) and of knowing that all the young people's dreams are going to come true and that love will triumph. ADELE GERAS

see previous entry for Amazon link

Just Henry reviewed by Amanda Craig

Despite its length (at least 200 pages should have been pruned off) this is a thrilling, richly detailed story that rips along to a hair-raising climax in which Henry and his sister are imprisoned in a cellar and about to be murdered. Several times, I found myself crying; only the greatest authors of children's fiction share this ability to touch the heart.

Paddington is 50 this year and has had many guises. His illustrators describe [to Michael Glover in The Times] how they portrayed the bear in the hat...

Blog Re-Appearance Explained

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Well, it's been a nightmare couple of weeks.
First of all, our American hosts blocked a section of the site while they moved us to a new server.
The move apparently worked seamlessly (see the entry about Blog Disappearance) but oh, how wrong can you be!!
To cut a long story short we had to cut loose of the company who had hosted ACHUKA since the start of the millenium and find ourselves, in the middle of a holiday weekend, a new host.
ACHUKA is a big site, so the transfer took a while. Initially there were problems with the Blog. These have (just about) been resolved, thanks to fantastic Movabletype support.
ALL of our attention has had to be directed towards getting th site soundly re-established, hence we are behind with book noticing and blog posting.

Every email sent to us in the previous 10 day period was lost.

Whilst the process of moving hosts has been stressful and maintenance-intensive (sitting in front of the screen while file FTPing), it is also exciting - the start of new ACHUKA life.

Onward, with new Heart.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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