May 2011 Archives

Lee Wardlaw Video Interview

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Literary Gumbo: Lee Wardlaw from Literary Gumbo on Vimeo.

Lee Wardlaw, talking (amongst other things) about her haiku picture books, Won Ton

Monica Dickens Back In Print

and Alison Flood celebrates...

How To Review

A couple of children's books reviewers answer questions about how they go about reviewing a book....

Guardian Review

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Guardian Review

Bracelet of Bones by Kevin Crossley-Holland, reviewed by Tony Bradman

Crossley-Holland writes prose with a poet's eye and love of words, painting a vivid picture of the world his characters move through, whether it's the morning mist on the river or the smoke from a funeral pyre. TONY BRADMAN

release date mid-July 2011

Hay Fever 2011

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Hay Fever 2011

Hay Fever, the children's books wing of the annual Hay Festival, starts tomorrow. Check the online programme.

The Divided City

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Last night the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, hosted the world premiere of a musical stage adaptation of the Theresa Breslin novel, DIVIDED CITY, a book which tackles sectarianism on and off the football pitch.

The show was performed by a cast of almost fifty S1 and S2 pupils from schools across the Glasgow area. The project, in co-operation with Glasgow City Council's Youth Music Initiative, aims to promote racial and religious tolerance.

all photographs by Richard Campbell

Teen Titles 50 ~ Inis 35

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Two magazines turned up in the ACHUKA postbag this past week. The first, a regular arrival, was the latest issue of Teen Titles, now celebrating its 50th issue. I've followed this magazine since the very earliest editions, and whilst the production values have become steadily glossier, the content of the magazine has remained consistent: bags and bags of reviews (written by teenagers), every page packed with print and colourful book jackets, with just a handful of features or interviews. (In this issue the featured authors are A. G. Taylor, Richard Harland, Nicola Morgan and William Nicholson.) The magazine's 40 pages (including front and back cover) are densely packed with traditional column-design layout.

The new-look Inis is a very different beast. For the cover price of £7 you get nearly a hundred pages of highly stylish and glossily presented children's books coverage. The editors Patricia Kennon and David Maybury declare "We're adopting a whole new look and outlook as the magazine and website positions itself [sorry to be pedantic, but shouldn't that be "position themselves"] within a more global audience." Gone from the magazine are short single-perspective reviews (these still appear on the website). "The reviews will showcase several responses to each book in order to enable a deeper critical discourse and diversity of perspectives."

Thus, Martyn Bedford's Flip has three separate review commentaries. The same for Phil Earle's Being Billy.

I suspect that this will take a bit of getting used to by those who would usually have anticipated some seventy plus individual book reviews in the magazine. And whilst I do appreciate stylishly designed copy, I have to say that here the new design team has been rather over-indulged and allowed to produce layouts that look like explorations in typography and page design rather than truly serving the interests and tastes of the magazine's audience.

The editors want to know what their readers think. The back page invites responses. So it is likely Inis 36 will be a little different again. Meanwhile, the regular reviews can be accessed online -

I am a huge admirer of David Maybury and his advocacy of children's literature, and do applaud the general thinking behind the future direction of the printed magazine and its relationship with the website. I'd just like a little more to actually read next time :)

E-books And Young Readers

Has some interesting observations on the impact of e-books on young readers....

Guardian Review

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Guardian Review

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher, reviewed by Philip Ardagh

"believe me, this book is something special PHILIP ARDAGH"

Ten Most Frightening Books for teenagers

as chosen by Cliff McNish

Winners 2011 New Zealan Children's Book Awards

The winners of the 2011 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards were announced at an Awards Ceremony in Auckland on Wednesday evening, 18 May 2011.

Margaret Mahy and illustrator, David Elliot, have won the country's most prestigious prize for children's literature, The New Zealand Post Children's Book of the Year Award for their picture book, The Moon & Farmer McPhee.

The full list of winners... 

Picture Book Category Award Winner and New Zealand Post Book of the Year
The Moon & Farmer McPhee
Margaret Mahy & David Elliot
Random House New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86979-406-4 hb RRP $36.99
Target age 4+

Non-fiction Category Award Winner
Zero Hour: The Anzacs on the Western Front
Leon Davidson
Text Publishing Company
ISBN 978-1-92165-607-1 pb RRP $25.00
Target age 13+

Junior Fiction Category Award Winner
Finnigan & the Pirates
Sherryl Jordan
Scholastic New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86943-927-9 pb RRP $19.50
Target age 7+

Young Adult Fiction Category Award Winner
Fierce September
Fleur Beale
Random House New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86979-328-9 pb RRP $19.99
Target age 12+

Best First Book Award
Hollie Chips
Anna Gowan
Scholastic New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86943-931-6 pb RRP $18.50
Target age 8+

Children's Choice Award Winner - Overall winner and Children's Choice
Baa Baa Smart Sheep
Mark Sommerset & Rowan Sommerset
Dreamboat Books
ISBN 978-0-9864668-1-6 hb RRP $29.99
Target age 3+

Children's Choice Award Non-fiction Category
Who's Cooking Tonight?
Claire Gourley & Glenda Gourley
Penguin Group (NZ)
ISBN 978-0-14320-542-5 pb RRP $36.00
Target age 12+

Children's Choice Award Junior Fiction Category
Hollie Chips
Anna Gowan
Scholastic New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86943-931-6 pb RRP $18.50
Target age 8+

Children's Choice Award Young Adult Category
Smiling Jack
Ken Catran
HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN 978-1-86950-812-8 pb RRP $23.50
Target age 12+

Frances Lincoln Poetry List

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A new Children's Poetry List, published by Janetta Otter-Barry at Frances Lincoln, was launched at The Gallery at Foyles, Charing Cross Road on 17th May with an evening of performances.

In the photograph from left to right

James Carter (Hey Little Bug will be published in August) Janetta Otter-Barry, Caroline Holden (illustrator of Come Into This Poem) Tony Mitton (Come Into this Poem will be published in August) Rachel Rooney (The Language of Cat) and Roger McGough (Imaginary Menagerie, which he has also illustrated - and the book has already reprinted)

John Agard (not pictured) also performed a preview of poems from Goldilocks on CCTV which will be published in October.

The list's editor, Janetta Otter-Barry, said, "We have many wonderful children's poets in the UK whose voices are not being heard, other than in anthologies. Surprisingly, this also includes established poets. I want to give children the chance to experience the full range of a poet's work in an individual collection. My intention is to publish two books a season, pairing an established poet with a new name. I am very excited about my new venture, which will help to bring poetry back into children's lives."

2011 Angus Award

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Keren David, holding the 2011 Angus Award presented to her last night for her novel When I Was Joe.

The award ceremony was held at Arbroath Academy and hosted by third year pupils Danielle Dickson and Danny Ford who presented the prize of £500 and the Angus Book Award trophy of the Aberlemno serpent stone to the winning author.

When I Was Joe is also shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award.

ABC NSW Audiocast with Sophie Masson

Sophie Masson is one of the winners from the NSW Premier's Literary Awards.
Last night she was awarded the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature for her book My Australian Story: The Hunt for Ned Kelly. ...

Go The F**k To Sleep Success

Something remarkable happened last Friday. A children's book hit the No. 1 spot on's best-seller list. And it did so a month before the book is even slated for release...

Read the link to find out all

HarperCollins Acquisition

from The Bookseller:

HarperCollins Children's Books has bought two books from Silver Smarties Prize-winning author Jeanne Willis. Editorial director Harriet Wilson bought world rights, including TV, film and merchandising, from Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates. The first book in the Penguin Pandemonium series will be published in January 2012.


these include

Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature ($30,000)
Cath Crowley, Graffiti Moon

Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature ($30,000)
Sophie Masson, My Australian Story: The Hunt for Ned Kelly

Special Award ($20,000)
Libby Gleeson

IBBY: Full List of Hans Christian Andersen Nomineed

Argentina: Author: Maria Teresa Andruetto; Illustrator: Pablo Bernasconi
Australia: Author: Christobel Mattingley; Illustrator: Bob Graham
Austria: Author: Monika Pelz; Illustrator: Renate Habinger
Belgium: Author: Bart Moeyaert; Illustrator: Louis Joos
Brazil: Author: Bartolomeu Campos de Queiros; Illustrator: Roger Mello
Canada: Author: Tim Wynne-Jones; Illustrator: Stephane Jorisch
Cyprus: Author: Elli Peonidou
Czech Republic: Illustrator: Peter Sís
Denmark: Author: Lene Kaaberbol; Illustrator: Charlotte Pardi
Finland: Author: Sinikka Nopola / Tiina Nopola; Illustrator: Virpi Talvitie
France: Author: Jean-Claude Mourlevat; Illustrator: Henri Galeron
Germany: Author: Paul Maar; Illustrator: Rotraut Susanne Berner
Greece: Author: Christos Boulotis; Illustrator: Effie Lada
Iran: Illustrator: Mohammad Ali Baniasadi
Ireland: Author: Eoin Colfer
Italy: Author: Bianca Pitzorno; Illustrator: Francesco Tullio-Altan
Japan: Author: Masamoto Nasu; Illustrator: Satoshi Kako
Republic of Korea: Author: Hwang Sun-Mi; Illustrator: Hong Seong-Chan
Latvia: Illustrator: Anita Paegle
Netherlands: Author: Tonke Dragt; Illustrator: Annemarie van Haeringen
Norway: Author: Bjorn Sortland; Illustrator: Oyvind Torseter
Romania: Author: Silvia Kerim; Illustrator: Valeria Moldovan
Russia: Illustrator: Gennadij Spirin
Serbia: Author: Ljubivoje Rsumovic; Illustrator: Dobrosav Zivkovic
Slovak Republic: Author: Daniel Hevier Illustrator: Peter Uchnár
Slovenia: Author: Tone Pavcek; Illustrator: Alenka Sottler
Spain: Author: Agustin Fernandez Paz; Illustrator: Javier Zabala Herrero
Sweden: Lennart Hellsing; Illustrator: Anna-Clara Tidholm
Switzerland: Author: Franz Hohler; Illustrator: Kathrin Scharer
Turkey: Author: Sevim Ak; Illustrator: Feridun Oral
United Kingdom: Author: Philip Pullman; Illustrator: John Burningham
USA: Author: Paul Fleischman; Illustrator: Chris Raschka
Venezuela: Illustrator: Arnal Balleste

The English Association 4-11 Book Awards

Key Stage 1 Fiction

The Black Book of Colours by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria, Walker Books
Key Stage 1 Non-Fiction

Mirror by Jeannie Baker, Walker Books
Key Stage 2 Fiction

The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers, Harper Collins
Key Stage 2 Non-Fiction

Taff in the WAAF by Mick Manning and Brita Granström, Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Short List
When Night Didn't Come, Poly Bernatene, Meadowside
Grow Your Own Monsters, Nicola Davies, Simon Hickmott and Scoular Anderson, Frances Lincoln
Help Me!, Paul Geraghty, Andersen Press
Germs!, Martin Howard and Colin Stimpson, Pavilion
I See the Moon, Jacqueline Mitton and Erika Paul, Frances Lincoln
The Ice Bear, Jackie Morris, Frances Lincoln
Cloud Tree Monkeys, Mal Peet, Elspeth Graham, Juan Wijngaard, Walker books
The Django, Levi Pinfold, Templar
Tortoise vs Hare: The Rematch, Preston Rutt and Ben Redlich, Meadowside
What Goes on in My Head?, Robert Winston, Dorling Kindersley

TroubleTwisters - Coming Soon

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TroubleTwisters Trailer

TroubleTwisters by Garth Nix and Sean Williams is published on June 6th

Bisto Award Winners - A Double Win For First-Timer

Chris Haughton, author and illustrator of A Bit Lost has been announced as the winner of the 21st Bisto Children's Book of the Year Award which comes with a prize of €10,000.

The winner of the Eilís Dillon award valued at €3,000 and which is awarded to a first time author or illustrator is also Chris Haughton for A Bit Lost. This is the first time in the history of the awards that both the overall and Eilís Dillon Awards have been awarded to the same person.

Other shortlisted titles:

Authors At Anderson's Bookshop

Blog page with over a dozen author video clips - including Blue Balliett, Tony DiTerlizzi & Laurie Halse Anderson

Blackwell's Festival of Illustration

For anyone in the Oxford region next weekend...

Kindle Promotion

David Belbin blogs about the pricing strategy behind the marketing of the Kindle edtiino of Bone and Cane...

Guardian Review

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Guardian Review

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens, reviewed by Patrick Ness

The Emerald Atlas is strangely lacking in both wonder ("So fine, magic was real," is Kate's reaction when first greeted with it) and proper danger... the book moves well and there are some fun action sequences. It's just a shame that it always seems to threaten magic without ever quite delivering. PATRICK NESS

Fallen Grace - New York Times Review

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper, reviewed in NYT by Amanda Foreman

Hooper writes in beautiful 19th-century cadences, but her story lines pack a 21st-century punch. Nothing feels forced or inserted for mere shock value. "Fallen Grace" has been impeccably researched, and it shows in every paragraph. There is even an appendix with five historical essays and a bibliography for readers interested in learning more about the era. It should come as no surprise to Hooper's fans that "Fallen Grace" has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal, Britain's equivalent of the Newbery; this is historical fiction worthy of the genre. AMANDA FOREMAN, NYT

NYT reviews

Some picture book reviews from the New York Times

Eva Ibbotson feature

The final book by Jesmond-based children's author Eva Ibbotson, who died last year, has just been published. Emma Dodd speaks to her son Piers about his mother's childhood, inspiration and legacy....

Recommended Reading from

A Monster Calls, reviewed in The Independent

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, reviewed by Daniel Hahn

Guardian Review

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Guardian Review

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, reviewed by Frank Cottrell Boyce extraordinarily beautiful book. Kay's menacing, energetic illustrations and the way they interact with the text, together with the lavish production values, make it a joy just to hold in your hand. If I have one quibble, it is with a line in the introduction where Ness says the point of a story is to "make trouble". It seems to me he has done the opposite here. He's produced something deeply comforting and glowing with - to use a Siobhan Dowd word - solace. The point of art and love is to try to shortchange that grim tax collector, death. Ness, Dowd, Kay and Walker have rifled death's pockets and pulled out a treasure. Death, it seems, is no disqualification. FRANK COTTRELL BOYCE

Please read the whole review...

Nicola Davies feaure

Biographical feature about children's author and Really Wild Show presenter, Nicola Davies...

IBBY Announces the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury

The International Board on Books for Young People has announced the 2012 Jury for the Hans Christian Andersen Awards.

The 2012 Jury, selected by IBBY's Executive Committee from nominations made by its national sections, comprises the following ten members:

  • Anastasia Arkhipova Illustrator, chair of the board of the Association of Moscow Book Illustrators and Designers, Moscow, Russia.
  • Françoise Ballanger Former manager of the publishing department of La Joie par les livres, Paris, France.
  • Ernest Bond Professor of Children's and Young Adult Literature at Salisbury University, Maryland, USA.
  • Sabine Fuchs University lecturer in children's literature, and secondary school teacher, Graz, Austria.
  • Ayfer Gürdal Ünal Writer and critic, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Jan Hansson Director of the Swedish Institute for Children's Books, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Eva Kaliskami Translator and teacher, Athens, Greece.
  • Nora Lía Sormani Writer and journalist, critic and researcher, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Sahar Tarhandeh Independent researcher in children's literature, freelance graphic designer and art director, Tehran, Iran.
  • Regina Zilberman Children's literature specialist and former director of the Instituto Estadual do Livro, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Children's Choice Book Awards

The Children's Book Council (CBC) in association with Every Child A Reader, the CBC Foundation, announced the winners of the fourth annual Children's Choice Book Awards at a gala in New York City on May 3rd. Children across the country voted in record numbers for their favorite books, author, and illustrator at bookstores, school libraries, and at, casting over 500,000 votes.

The Children's Choice Book Award winners are as follows:

Author of the Year
Rick Riordan for The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 1) (Disney-Hyperion)

Illustrator of the Year
David Wiesner for Art & Max (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year
Little Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby (Putnam/Penguin)

Third Grade to Fourth Grade Book of the Year
Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Knopf/Random House)

Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year
The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) by Rick Riordan (Disney-Hyperion)

Teen Choice Book of the Year
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (Dutton/Penguin)

Rick Riordan's Favorite Childhood Books

from the New York Times - part of a new, occasional series on authors' favorite children's books

Peter Andre Can't Wait - Can You?

"I can't say too much but I'm working on some children's books and I can't wait until you can read them. We've come up with a great idea, I think they're going to be fab."

First word in that second sentence says it all, really...

Brianford Boase Award Longlist

Not sure when this was announced. Must have missed the press release. Alerted to it by a tweet from Lucy Christopher @LucyCAuthor

Shades Of Gray

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Ruta Sepetys
April 2011
344 pp
Whole book read
Read On? YES

Ruta Sepetys discusses her upcoming novel, Between Shades of Gray from Penguin Young Readers Group on Vimeo.

As the author herself says in the book trailer above, the war crimes of Hitler are well known and well documented both in histories and in fiction. The war crimes of Stalin and the sufferings inflicted on the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are not so widely known, especially amongst the young.
The American author is of Lithuanian descent and her novel is based both on personal family history and on general research. After the Baltic states had been annexed to Russia lists of those deemed unsympathetic to the Russian state were compiled. The men were arrested and imprisoned. Women and children were herded onto cattle trains and sent away to camps in Siberia.
The novel follows the experiences of a 15 year old girl, Lina, her mother and brother as they are shipped away to a cruel Arctic winterland. Sepetys makes a compelling case for her story in the book trailer (as she did also when I heard her speak recently at a Puffin event). I was pleased to find that as a novelist, she tells her frequently harrowing story just as compellingly. The only parts that didn't work for me were the italicised sections, which I found distracting and unnecessary.
This powerful and important novel is a very impressive debut from a new author.

[Also posted to ACHUKAREVIEWS]

Girls Heart Books

New collective blog launches today, 1st May, set to feature "Susie Day, Leila Rasheed, Cathy Cassidy and Keris Stainton... ...Karen McCombie, Liz Kessler, Cathy Hopkins and many, many more"

ACHUKA-man wishes it well :)

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