October 2012 Archives

Guardian Children's Fiction Prize Party

A report from last week's Guardian Children's Fiction Prize (won by Frank Cottrell Boyce) party, with mentions of some of the long-listed titles and quotes from junior judges....

The Tobermory Cat

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Guardian 'Trending' Page About The Topermory Cat Controversy

A shame such a fluent and charming picture book has to be mired in this tiresome squabble but no doubt the publicity will be good for sales.

Chicken and Frog Bookshop, Brentwood

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Chicken and Frog Bookshop

Best ACHUKA wishes to a newly opened children's bookshop in Brentwood.

Magic Ballerina EEeBooks

Strictly Come Dancing Judge and Prima Ballerina, Darcey Bussell has teamed up with HarperCollins Children's Books to turn her Magic Ballerina series into ebooks.
The series has sold over two million copies and been translated into 13 languages. Set in the world of Enchantia, there are 25 ebooks available, aimed at five to eight year olds.
Three of the titles - Delphie and the Magic Ballet Shoes, Rosa and the Secret Princess and Holly and the Dancing Cat - are available for just 99 pence.

Kindle edition just 99p

WH Smith to pilot new children and teenager-focussed store at Manchester Airport

Menmedia business report:

WH Smith is to pilot a new store concept at Manchester Airport which focuses on products for children and teenagers.

Zoodle outlets are to be opened in Terminals One and Two and will stock books, toys and games, stationery and art materials and drinks, confectionery and snacks.

A spokesman for the high street chain said: "An important part of the WH Smith Travel strategy for many years has been developing new formats and channels, and Zoodle is another example of an opportunity to extend the successful Travel business model."

Zoodle is the latest in a series of retail launches at the airport.

Red House Children's Book Award - The Shortlist


Can You See Sassoon? by Sam Usher
Little Tiger Press ISBN 9781848950887

Dog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates
Red Fox Picture Books ISBN 9781862308657

The Spooky Spooky House by Andrew Weale
Corgi ISBN 9780552561167

Welcome to Alien School by Caryl Hart
Simon & Schuster Childrens Books ISBN 9780857072573


Gangsta Granny by David Walliams
Harper Collins ISBN 9780007371440

The World of Norm: May Contain Nuts by Jonathan Meres
Orchard Books ISBN 9781408313039

Operation Eiffel Tower by Elen Caldecott
Bloomsbury Childrens ISBN 9781408805732


Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur
Puffin Books ISBN 9780141336053

The Medusa Project: Hit Squad by Sophie McKenzie
Simon & Schuster Children's Books ISBN 9780857070715

The Lorien Legacies: The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
Penguin Books ISBN 9780141330877

Big Publishing Merger Goes Ahead

The Penguin + Random House Merger Is On

The owners of Penguin and Random House have announced a deal to merge their publishing arms to create the world's biggest book publisher.

Bertelsmann, which owns Random House, will own 53% of the newly created group and Random House boss Markus Dohle will be chief executive. Penguin's owner Pearson will retain 47%, with its man John Mackinson, currently chairman and chief executive of Penguin, stepping up as chairman of the joint venture, which will be called Penguin Random House.

The announcement scuppers the hopes of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation to crash the merger plans. Reports over the weekend suggested News Corp's publishing arm, HarperCollins, could put a £1bn bid for Penguin to the board of Pearson this week.

Big Publishing Merger Goes Ahead

The Penguin + Random House Merger Is On

The owners of Penguin and Random House have announced a deal to merge their publishing arms to create the world's biggest book publisher.

Bertelsmann, which owns Random House, will own 53% of the newly created group and Random House boss Markus Dohle will be chief executive. Penguin's owner Pearson will retain 47%, with its man John Mackinson, currently chairman and chief executive of Penguin, stepping up as chairman of the joint venture, which will be called Penguin Random House.

The announcement scuppers the hopes of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation to crash the merger plans. Reports over the weekend suggested News Corp's publishing arm, HarperCollins, could put a £1bn bid for Penguin to the board of Pearson this week.

Kindle Fire v iPad Mini

Here's an interesting edit/commentary on Amazon's front page pitch regarding their Fir HD and Apple's forthcoming Mini iPad:


Independent Publisher websites don't get much better than this. Very impressive indeed.

In 2012, Alison Moore's The Lighthouse was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

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Guardian Review

A World Between Us by Lydia Syson, reviewed by Linda Buckley-Archer

"an outstanding debut novel for teenagers" Linda Buckley-Archer

Frank Cotrell Boyce - A Life In Writing

Earlier this week Frank Cottrell Boyce was awarded the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. He is now the subject of the newspaper's 'A Life In Writing' feature. Highly recoomended profile.

"I don't think films ever change people the way books change people. But I know what you mean. I do see now doing things with the Reader Organisation that anyone can be saved, it's never too late. But there is something very porous about the years between eight and twelve. That's the debt I want to pay off, because it's the books I read then that really stayed with me."

Kindle Now On Sale In Waterstones

I walked past the Waterstones Eastbourne branch this evening just after it had closed, but noticed that the Kindle station was now stocked and apparently functional.

When I got home I found this BBC video interview with James Daunt and accompany feature from a couple of days ago...

Unfortunately, embedding the video clip in this blog post was not possible so you will have to visit the page to watch it. If you do, you'll find that Daunt comes across as reassuringly composed and relaxed about his strategy.

"I certainly believe that ownership of the physical book does matter," he adds.

"Whereas that little file embedded in a piece of plastic isn't pretty to look at. You can't lend it. You can't sell it. And you can't bequeath it to your children.

"Digital is convenient in some situations - travelling, or reading at night when you don't want to wake the wife.

"But it is also fundamentally unsatisfactory in all sorts of other ways. And that will preserve the physical book as being the majority choice for some foreseeable time, even fiction."

Marsh Award Shortlist

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The Shortlist

Howard Curtis for In the Sea there are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda, translated from Italian, and published in the UK by David Fickling Books.
A harrowing story of a young boy travelling from his home in Afghanistan to Italy, in search of safety. Based on the experiences of Enaiatollah Akbari, his story is told with a sense of humour andadventure, and with great pace and tension.
The judges say: "a book to inspire and nourish young people"

Fatima Sharafeddini for My Own Special Way by Mithaa Alkhayyat (retold by Vivian French), translated from Arabic and published in the UK by Orion Children's Books. Hamda wants to be a 'big girl' like her older sisters and wear the headscarf. A bold and simple story for early readers, about growing-up, individuality, and family.
The judges say: "a unique early reader that normalises another cultural custom"

Ros and Chloe Schwastz for The Little Prince by Antoine de St-Exupery, translated from French and published in the UK by The Collector's Library. A whimsical and profound parable that enchants children and adults alike, and that warrants retelling to each new generation of readers.
The judges say: "A classic beautifully retranslated which retains all the ineffable charm
of the original."

Lucia Graves for The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafron, translated from Spanish and published in the UK by Orion Children's Books. A fast moving tale of mystery and adventure set in 1930s Calcutta, following the story of twins separated at birth.
The judges say: "A powerfully told story for older readers, with a strong sense of time and

Karin Chubb for Themba by Lutz van Dijk, translated from German and published in the UK by Aurora Metro Books. A hard-hitting, and emotional story of AIDs in South Africa, following Themba, 'A boy called hope', and his dreams of becoming a famous footballer.
The judges say: "A harrowing yet ultimately positive novel, which zips along and cheers
the reader with its rags to riches ending and the twist in this excellently translated tale."

The Judges:

  • Wendy Cooling OBE, Founder of Bookstart, education consultant, and author.

  • Colin Niven OBE, Founding Headmaster of the Dulwich Colleges in Shanghai, Beijing and Suzhou, and of Sherbourne School in Qatar.

  • Sian Williams, Founder of the Children's Bookshow.

  • Gillian Lathey, Director of the National Centre for Research in Children's Literature.

The prize of £2000 goes to the translator. The 2013 winner will be announced by the English-Speaking Union at an awards ceremony at Dartmouth House on 23 January 2013.

Topsy & Tim For TV

Children's author Jean Adamson said she was "tickled pink" after learning her books were to be made into a BBC television series. Mrs Adamson, 84, was told on Sunday that her award-winning Topsy and Tim stories were to be transformed into a live-action drama - the first ever to feature on pre-school channel CBeebies. The writer, of High Street, Stretham, who was made an MBE for her services to children's literature, was inspired to write Topsy and Tim Play Football after seeing children playing on the village green. Created in 1959, the Topsy and Tim books have sold more than 21 million copies across some 130 titles.

The 60-part, 11-minute series is scheduled to be broadcast in 2014.

Cressida Cowell Profile

A profile of Cressida Cowell, from the Sheffield Telegraph:

As [Cressida Cowell] prepared to come to Sheffield this weekend to give a talk for the Off the Shelf festival the author of the children's adventure series insisted that all the multi-media spin-offs could do nothing but good towards her primary ambition of encouraging children to read.

She will be introducing How To Seize a Dragon's Jewel, the tenth in the series which has sold more than two million copies in the UK alone and is read in more than 35 languages...

Frank Cottrell Boyce Wins Guardian Children's Fiction Prize

By winning the Guardian award with THE UNFORGOTTEN COAT, which is now in its 45th year and is the only prize of its kind judged by writers, Cottrell Boyce joins some of children's literature's most enduring names, including Alan Garner, Dick King-Smith and Diana Wynne Jones.

Cottrell Boyce's novel is an unusual winner in that it was not written for commercial publication. Instead, the author was commissioned to write it by a charity - the Liverpool-based Reader Organisation - and 50,000 copies were given away for free this year.

ACHUKA in the Goodreads Sin Bin

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As a small independent, digital-only publisher it can be ridiculously hard to make the public at large aware of a new title.

The latest instance of this is my announcement of Caroline England's new novel A SLIGHT DIVERSION, published by ACHUKAbooks today, on the Goodreads Kindle New Releases forum.

It has been removed from the listing and placed in the 'Sin Bin', presumably simply because it does not comply with #5 of the 7 posting "rules" - namely, "5. Please do not add eBooks that are not written by you."

I have found myself similarly at loggerheads (and on the receiving end of uncalled for abuse) with the rules of Amazon's discussion boards.

I don't see what these rules achieve. If the purpose of a New Releases section of the Amazon Kindle forum is, as I believe it should be, simply to bring newly released Kindle titles to people's attention, what does it matter if the notice is posted by the author or the publisher, so long as all the other rules (e.g. only listing books that are indeed newly-published) are complied with.

Please discuss!

A Slight Diversion by Caroline England

AVAILABLE AT LAST! One day later than planned, owing to delays with Kindle publishing.

Those who have read and enjoyed Caroline England's dark and spiky short stories in the collection Watching Horsepats Feed The Roses (currently on a 2-day free download offer) will have been keeping a keen eye out for her first novel, which ACHUKAbooks is very excited to be publishing.

Where WATCHING HORSEPATS FEED THE ROSES was a deliciously dark sequence of cameos and quirks of cruelty, related in a terse, quintessentially English sardonic voice, A SLIGHT DIVERSION is altogether warmer and (as its title implies) lighter in tone.
The book is narrated by Fiona, a humorous self-deprecating twenty-seven year old solicitor, who hasn't had much luck with love and still misses her beloved dead dad. In her own eyes she is a gaffe-prone disaster, but in fact she is an attractive, efficient young professional whom others see as being a touch icy.
A colourful cast of characters and a fast-moving, sometimes farcical, sometimes emotion-ridden plot combine to create a richly rewarding read - one that confirms Caroline England as a writer to follow.

So confident are we that once you experience this author for yourselves, you will want to spread the word, that for TWO DAYS - today Sunday 21st October and tomorrow Monday 22nd October - you can download the short story collection for free, AND acquire the novel for just 99c/77p.

A Slight Diversion will move to full price from Tuesday 23rd October, so don't miss this opportunity.

Kindle Paperwhite Review

Another Kindle Paperwhite review - this one from Huffington Post - chosen because of the included photo gallery

Guardian Reivew

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Guardian Review

Dodger by Terry Pratchett, reviewed by Marcus Sedgwick

There's a moment as a reader, not often enough felt, when you sigh comfortably and relax, because you know you're in good hands. Such a moment occurs commendably near the start of Dodger - in fact, in the very first chapter title, in which the author teases us with the notion that he is going to introduce one of the greatest British novelists to one of his best-loved fictional creations. Can it be true? Yes, for here in the opening pages of the novel, Dickens himself, known as Mister Charlie, encounters a young man known only as Dodger, as the scallywag rescues a damsel in distress from the brutal clutches of her foul husband's henchmen. MARCUS SEDGWICK

Three Way Ereader Video review

Video comparison review for anyone considering purchasing the new Kindle Paperwhite

To Kindlegraph Or Not To Kindlegraph

from Examiner.com:

What exactly is "Kindlegraph"? According to www.kindlegraph.com, "Kindlegraph lets authors send personalized inscriptions and signatures ("kindlegraphs") directly to the electronic reading devices of their fans." Basically, it is a way for readers to get autographs on their Kindle eBooks from their favorite authors.

In The Examiner piece various authors speak for and against the concept.


School Librarian of the Year Picks His Top Ten

from The Guardian:

Adam Lancaster, librarian and associate head teacher at Monk's Walk School, Welwyn Garden City, has just been named school librarian of the year. He picks his favourite books that are set in libraries or have set his library alight...


A really interesting Kindle development, as reported in Publishers Weekly:

Looking to broaden the reach of Kindle devices, Amazon has targeted educational and business institutions with the launch of Whispercast for Kindle, a new technology that allows organizations to distribute and centrally manage the deployment of content to multiple Kindle devices.

Whispercast for Kindle is designed to encourage the bulk distribution of Kindles, Kindle Fires and Kindle Reading apps to institutional groups, like high schools and employees of a business, by allowing groups to distribute content to the devices through a localized network. A spokesperson for Amazon said the technology will be available for "all books in the Kindle store" and that payment for titles will be made through the organization managing the Whispercast account.

Kindle Paperwhite To Be Available In Waterstoned 'end of month'

The new Kindle Paperwhite is go on sale through Waterstones stores by the end of the month, the retailer said yesterday.
The Fire and Fire HD tablets should be on sale in the chain on 25th October, the general UK release date.
Amazon have told customers that orders placed now for the Paperwhite model would not be expected to ship until the week of 12th November.


Toby Clements, apropos of Ian McEwan in praise of the novella, observes:

Because they don't sell well, publishers don't like them, and so they remain the reserve of the well-established writer with a guaranteed readership, an almost rarefied art, practiced by only the very, very good, such as McEwan himself. Perhaps it is in this sense that he is talking about the novella, as a sort of ambition to which only the lofty can aspire.

The first book I selected to publish as an ACHUKAbooks title was a novella - THE FIELD by Bill Nagelkerke.

I am very eager to publish more novellas - not just because I have a personal preference for short fiction, but because the form is so suited to e-publishing.

Find out more about publishing with ACHUKAbooks

Maori Book Award Winners

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Maori Book Award Winners


Awhina Tamarapa (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Pikiao), Whatu Kakahu: Māori Cloaks, Publisher: Te Papa Press

Marina Sciascia (Ngāti Kahungungu, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Tahu), Hilary Pedersen (Pākehā) and Brian Morris (Ngāti Kahungungu, Rongowhakaata), Matatoa: Fathers & Sons, Publisher: Te Hanganui Partnership

Paula Morris (Ngāti Wai), Rangatira, Publisher: Penguin New Zealand

Alison Jones (Pākehā) and Kuni Jenkins (Ngāti Porou), He kōrero: Words between us - First Māori-Pākehā coversations on paper, Publisher: Huia

Hēni Jacob (Ngāti Raukawa), Mai i te Kākano, Publisher: Te Tākupu, Te Wānanga o Raukawa

Dame Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira (Ngāti Porou), Ngā Waituhi o Rēhua, Publisher: Huia

How To Write An Adventure Story

A blog post by Josh Lacey...

whose short book, The Dragonsitter, is currently shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize

Jeff Bezos of Amzon, interviewed in Metro

'I predict that some years from now reading books on Kindles will seem so normal people will have forgotten it was ever considered new and that will be a huge accomplishment I will be very proud of. It puts a huge grin on my face, and those grins are contagious.' JEFF BEZOS, Amazon

The Wimpy Kid In E-ink

Newsfactor reports:

The "Wimpy Kid" is returning to his digital roots. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" creator Jeff Kinney, a major e-holdout among children's authors, has agreed to make his illustrated, top-selling series about the trials of middle schooler Greg Heffley available electronically. "The decision came after a lot of thought and deliberation," Kinney said during a recent telephone interview. "I am very excited about this. It feels like the time is right."

The first six volumes of "The Diary of a Wimpy Kid" are coming out Oct. 30 as e-books. The new novel, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel," comes out simultaneously as a hardcover and an e-book on Nov. 13.

pre-order print edition

pre-order Kindle edition

The Original Spirit of the Web Lives On - in a few places...

Michael Rosen's poetry videos, filmed by his son Joe and uploaded to YouTube, have been viewed over 4 million times.
"Just so that everyone knows," [MR says], "I make no money from putting the videos on YouTube. Joe and I made them out of our own work and costs.

Writers Hanging Out Together

from Emily Temple on flavorpill

There's something strangely inspiring about photographs of visionaries in the same room -- we don't know quite what it is, but the idea of (what we imagine to be) a profound meeting of minds captured on film always manages to get us excited. To that end, we put together a collection of some very excellent photographs of [writers haning out together]...

Includes a fabulous father & son portrait of Kinglsey and Martin Amis, by Dmitri Kasterine

Poetry Conference


A conference to highlight how CLPE poetry projects have engaged children as readers, writers and performers and to share how you can involve your whole school community in poetry. The conference will also showcase the new Poetryline website, which is packed full of free resources for teachers.
Date: Thursday 25 October 2012, 9.30 - 3.30
Venue: CLPE, 44 Webber Street, London SE1 8QW
Cost: £225 (lunch included)
Booking: email sharon@clpe.co.uk

Another Prize for A Monster Calls

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Patrick Ness and Jim Kay received the Young People's Jury Award at the German Children's Literature Awards (Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis) for A Monster Calls on Friday 12 October, 2012. This award was voted for by German students and presented at a ceremony which formed part of The Frankfurt Book Fair.
The award winning author and illustrator share a prize fund of a combined €8,000.

Blue Peter Book Award Judges Announced

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The Times columnist and best-selling author of How to be a Woman Caitlin Moran, will be one of the judges helping to select Blue Peter's favourite children's books of the year, as part of the 2013 Blue Peter Book Awards judging panel.

Joining her on the judging panel will be best-selling children's author of How to Train Your Dragon, Cressida Cowell; librarian Jake Hope; and Blue Peter Editor Tim Levell, who will be chairing the panel.

Caitlin Moran comments:

'As someone raised on books, and now a mother of two, I know there is no more amazing world to share with your kids than being able to climb into a book together and talk about it forever, like a cross between gossip, news and Christmas. Being able to judge this prize is a total honour. Plus, they said I could have a Blue Peter badge. There's a childhood dream fulfilled, right there.'

The shortlists will be announced on Blue Peter on Thursday 10 January (5.45pm CBBC). The winners will be announced and receive their trophies live on a special edition of Blue Peter to be broadcast on World Book Day, Thursday 7 March.

Mo Yan wins Nobel prize in literature 2012

The Chinesse novelist, Mo Yan, has won the Nobel prize in literature 2012.
He is the first ever Chinese literature Nobel laureate, praised for his 'hallucinatory realism'.

Kindle Paperwhite and Prime Lending Coming To Uk Later This Month...

Coming later this month - Kindle Owners' Lending Library - with an Amazon Prime membership, Kindle owners can choose from more than 200,000 books to borrow for free with no due dates, including current and former top sellers in the Amazon.co.uk Kindle Store and all 7 Harry Potter books.

Also, advance order being taken for Kindle Paperwhite...

The £10 Kindle Alternative

Well, well, well...

txtr beagle from txtr on Vimeo.

Guardian Children's Books Podcast

A 10-minute podcast about Tanya Byrne's first book, a young adult crime novel about a teenager who is out to get the girl who stabbed her criminal father. It's written in the form of a diary and is the first young adult novel to be shortlisted for a Crime Writers Association prize.

Mental Health Day Recommendations

from Rosalie Warren on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure....

This is [Rosalie Warren's] list.

  • The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson
  • A Note of Madness by Tabitha Suzuma
  • A Voice in the Distance by Tabitha Suzuma
  • My Mum's from Planet Pluto by Gwyneth Rees.
  • Red Shift by Alan Garner 
  • Boneland by Alan Garner (though I'm told this is not strictly a children's/YA book)
  • ***Mental by Sherry Ashworth
  • Girl, Aloud by Emily Gale

*** Mental (Warren observes) is actually about schizophrenia, I realise now I've read it, but I'm leaving it on the list as it's a very good book.

And Rosalie Warren has novel of her own about a bipolar character:

Meg and Mog Author Obituary

Jan Pienkowski remembers his illustrator collaborator on the Meg and Mog books...

Adult Novel From R. L. Stine

In Red Rain, Stine proves that he can not only scare children and teens, but adults as well...

Debi's Shed

from A Daily Record feature about the Scottish author-illustrator

The old, corrugated iron building at the bottom of Debi Gliori's garden is a place of best-selling inspiration.

The children's author and illustrator, who has just had her 75th book published, retreats to the humble "studio" to craft her ideas.

The mum-of-five said: "With so many children, working in the house simply wasn't practical. Tomatoes got dropped on artwork, there would be smears of peanut butter or invisible sticky patches of marmalade hiding on the kitchen table where I would work after the morning stampede to school was over.

"So I commissioned my ex-husband to build me an insulated garden shed. It is tucked beside the compost heap and the log shed in our garden. It has windows all round and Veluxes in the roof to maximise what little light there is in Scotland.

"I love my shed. It's my space and my mess - and I know where everything is."

Debi's Shed

from A Daily Record feature about the Scottish author-illustrator

The old, corrugated iron building at the bottom of Debi Gliori's garden is a place of best-selling inspiration.

The children's author and illustrator, who has just had her 75th book published, retreats to the humble "studio" to craft her ideas.

The mum-of-five said: "With so many children, working in the house simply wasn't practical. Tomatoes got dropped on artwork, there would be smears of peanut butter or invisible sticky patches of marmalade hiding on the kitchen table where I would work after the morning stampede to school was over.

"So I commissioned my ex-husband to build me an insulated garden shed. It is tucked beside the compost heap and the log shed in our garden. It has windows all round and Veluxes in the roof to maximise what little light there is in Scotland.

"I love my shed. It's my space and my mess - and I know where everything is."

The Surprisingly Sanguine UK Children's Publishing Scene | Publishing Perspectives

An extract from a report of lastmonth's Bookseller's annual Children's Conference:

Gaming guru Paul Rhodes, who has just left Walker Books to go back into the gaming industry, said there were a number of parallels between the two industries. "In the gaming industry, it's about a two-way conversation with the consumer. Engagement is now more important than above the line spend. It used to be about who shouts the loudest - now it's about who looks after the customer best." Many, many publishers are talking like this too.

On taking the digital leap, Jill Coleman, MD of indie Little Tiger Press, said: "I think we're all watching the market. It's expensive to experiment. A lot of the barriers are coming down, particularly with the arrival of ePub3, but it's still something we can't do by ourselves." Hanratty said her shop was only selling five or six e-books a month. "There isn't the demand at the moment."

Guardian Review II

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The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne, reviewed by Philip Ardagh

who enjoys a vampire-free thriller:

The Truth About Celia Frost is not without its faults, but it's fast and fun, and difficult to pigeon-hole, which is no bad thing in this age of rigid genres. What's more, I found myself caring about the central characters and - despite the relevance of blood in the story - I'm delighted to report that this book is guaranteed vampire-free. PHILIP ARDAGH


Guardian Review I

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Guardian Review

Grimm Tales for Young and Old by Philip Pullman, reviewed by Sara Maitland

This collection is issued as a "classic", so it is probably right to aim for a style free of the gothic extravagance of Angela Carter or the contemporary ethics of Jane Yolen or any other highly literary or individual interpretation, but for those who already know the stories this results in a collection which is very good, but not very interesting. If I were choosing a collection for someone - a child, perhaps - who did not know any of the tales, I would still opt for Jack Zipes's lively translation of the whole oeuvre, The Complete Fairy Tales, partly because my favourites (and yours and everyone's) will be there, and partly because it seems a more straightforward and comfortable enterprise. SARA MAITLAND

A reminder that our main book selection pages now have links to Waterstones as well as Amazon:


Book-banners Are Invariably idiots

When author Pat Conroy was told, in 2007, by a concerned student that two of his books - The Prince of Tides and Beach Music - had been banned by the Kanawha County school board following complaints from parents, he sent [a spirited letter] to the area's local newspaper, The Charleston Gazette, and made known his disgust at such censorship.

Follow the link to read the letter in full.

I recommend it!

Emma Matthewson To Leave Bloomsbury

As reported by The Bookseller:

Emma Matthewson is joining Hot Key Books as editor-at-large, moving from her role as editorial director at Bloomsbury Children's Books. Matthewson's starting date at Bonnier-owned Hot Key Books is to be confirmed. She will share responsibility for growing the list of fiction for 9-19 year-olds, which launched in August this year, working with m.d. Sarah Odedina, previously of Bloomsbury. Matthewson said: "After 15 marvellous and exciting years at Bloomsbury Children's Books the time has finally come to move on. I am thrilled to be joining Hot Key Books, so newly formed by Bonnier Publishing, yet so clearly absolutely fizzing with energy. I am so pleased to be working again with the inspirational Sarah Odedina, and to be joining the hugely talented team that is already in place."

Minecraft Books To Be Published By Egmont

Techcrunch reports:

Mojang, the creator of Minecraft, has signed a deal with specialist children's publisher, Egmont Publishing, for book and magazine publishing rights for the virtual world block-building game that has amassed almost 43 million registered users. The publishing rights are for territories excluding the U.S. ...

David Riley, Managing Director of Egmont Publishing Group added in a statement: "Publishing rights for this virtual building blocks game represent a huge opportunity for us. The deal is a great fit with Egmont and sits brilliantly amidst our growing portfolio of viral video, social media, virtual world, mobile and online gaming entertainment properties."

What demons sit on YOUR shoulder?

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What demons sit on YOUR shoulder?

Andrea McNamara, daughter of Catholic parents with a lifetime of 'protest' behind them, and granddaughter of an Irish matriarch, has finished university and is looking forward to starting her new life.

But then she meets Chris, her former boyfriend, and self-styled classics geek and atheist.

The meeting prompts Andrea to look back at her her final year at high school when she met Chris for the first time and when her life began to change in ways both challenging and unexpected.

This brief but powerful (and expertly constructed) novel is at once a love story and an acknowledgement of the part belief systems of various kinds (religious and pagan) still play in the lives of an ostensibly secular pair of young lovers.

Bill Nagelkerke, from New Zealand, has a highy distinctive voice and approach to constructing his fiction. ACHUKAbooks launched its digital list with THE FIELD, Bill's short novella about a girl who is visited by Marian apparitions. We're delighted to be publishing a second and longer work by him now.

The full ACHUKAbooks list

Short Story Winner

Bulgarian author Miroslav Penkov has won the BBC International Short Story Award, for his entry East of the West.

The winner was announced at a ceremony in London, broadcast live on Radio 4 arts show Front Row.

Penkov takes the £15,000 prize, while the runner-up, South African writer Henrietta Rose-Innes, wins £2,500 for her story Sanctuary.


I am very keen to publish another collection of short stories as good as Watching Horsepats Feed The Roses by Caroline England.

If you have a set of stories worthy for consideration please check this page...

Hans Christian Andersen Prize Winner

Chilean author Isabel Allende has won a Danish literature prize for her "magical and spellbinding storytelling."
The 500,000 kroner ($86,000) Hans Christian Andersen Literature Prize is given to a writer whose works compare with those of the legendary Andersen, who was born in 1805 and wrote about 160 fairytales and poems before his death in 1875.

Read for my School

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Read For My School

An exciting new national schools reading competition (launched by Jeremy Strong at the Telegraph Bath Festival of Children's Literature) is being run by The Pearson Foundation and Booktrust, with support from the Department for Education.

The competition, designed to motivate children of all abilities to read for pleasure, is being offered free of charge to all primary schools in England. All registered schools will be entered into a prize draw to win one of many donations of books drawn from a pot of 100,000 books provided by Pearson.

The competition, which is for pupils in years 5 and 6, will run from 21st January to 22nd March 2013

Children's Book Week | Booktrust

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Children's Book Week

Children's Book Week is an annual event, held in the first week of October.

The aim of Children's Book Week is to celebrate reading for pleasure. Schools, libraries and other venues all over the UK hold events and activities aimed at encouraging children to view reading as a source of pleasure, explore libraries and bookshops and even start writing themselves.

The theme this year is Heroes.

100 Book Covers

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100 Book Covers

Belgian graphic design studio beshart was able to unite 100 artists from 28 countries in a unique co-creation project. Together we (re)designed the covers for "The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time" (chosen by Robert McCrum for The Observer, 2003). Our mission: raise awareness for the problem of illiteracy.

The result is not only a unique cross section of contemporary trends in design and illustration, it is also a wonderful collection of posters that has you contemplating on those great reading moments we as literate people often take for granted.


Perilous Decline In Non-Fiction For Children

Led by Jenny Vaughant, a children's non-fiction writer , a group of 26 authors have written to the Guardian in an attempt to save a genre they believe is in terminal decline.

This is important...

Vaughan's fellow author and signatory to the letter Phil Steele called it a "pretty dire situation". He said: "If you go into bookshops you see the lack of children's non-fiction on the shelves, [and] a lot of writers have thrown in the towel."

The authors believe that booksellers are focusing on children's fiction, and have "all but given up" on non-fiction, partly because "the strictures of the national curriculum have driven many publishers to stop producing anything very original, and how many books on vikings and rainforests do we really need?"

Instead of innovative, new non-fiction titles, there are "endless 'Horrible History' imitations", they say.

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