[WBD has announced] that Rob Biddulph is the official illustrator for World Book Day 2019.
“Not only does Rob have the best handwriting in the business but he is also a bestselling and multi award-winning author/illustrator whose first picture book, Blown Away, was published in 2014 and was only the second illustrated book in history to win the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. Before he became a full-time author/illustrator he was the art director of the Observer Magazine, NME, Uncut, SKY and Just Seventeen. He lives in London with his wife and three daughters and hasn’t given up hope that, maybe, one of them will go to an Arsenal match with him one day.”
Recommended feature about Cornelia Funke in Deutsche Well:
In 1979, the German children’s book writer Michael Ende decided to take a journey into imagery realms in his writing: His epic book, The Neverending Story, takes place in a magical world full of adventure that appealed not only to children. Many adults also fell in love with the powerful story. And those who were fortunate enough to experience The Neverending Story during their childhood are still fans today.
But those children have long grown up and have children of their own now. And their generation has their own author who explores universes of the imagination: Cornelia Funke. There’s hardly a child today who hasn’t read Funke’s work or has at least listened to audio books or watched film adaptations of her books.
Emma Suffield, librarian at Saint Wilfrid’s C of E Academy (saintwilfrids.co.uk) Blackburn, has been awarded the honour of the School Librarian of the Year 2018.
This is one of the most significant awards of the children’s book calendar. The School Library Association – which is a body committed to supporting everyone involved with school libraries, promoting high quality reading and learning opportunities for all – created the School Librarian of the Year Award in 2004, at the suggestion of Aidan Chambers and in response to the need for recognition of the excellent work that is carried out in school libraries every day. Nominees do not need to be members of the SLA, and may be from any phase of education.
Lauren St. John, whose books include The White Giraffe (Orion) and Kat Wolfe Investigates (Macmillan – one of the award’s sponsors) made the presentation at a special ceremony at The Judge’s Court, above Browns in St Martins Lane, earlier today. Just beforehand, St. John had given a brief keynote talk, explaining how she had not had the luxury of a library while growing up in Africa, but had nevertheless devoured books whenever they were on offer, frequently reading the same book many times over. She read everything, from Westerns to Sherlock Holmes, and books that her parents had lying around. At boarding school she read books that were passed from girl to girl, mainly Mills & Boons.
She referred to some research she had read about the benefit of books on the growing mind, in which reading was described as “training in the art of being human”. She also spoke glowingly of an article in The New Yorker, “Growing Up In The Library” by Susan Orlean, who also has a whole book on the subject due out in the UK in January.
St John read directly from the New Yorker piece, in which Orlean remembers her childhood library visits:
Those trips were dreamy, frictionless interludes that promised I would leave richer than I arrived. It wasn’t like going to a store with my mom, which guaranteed a tug-of-war between what I desired and what she was willing to buy me; in the library, I could have anything I wanted. On the way home, I loved having the books stacked on my lap, pressing me under their solid, warm weight, their Mylar covers sticking to my thighs.
In the interval after the four separate video presentations, and before the final winner was announced, I spoke with the Honour Listed librarian from India, Dr Chhavi Jain. The video presentation made it clear that her role is very curricular linked, with an emphasis on information literacy skills, so I wanted to learn more about the reading for pleasure tastes of her students. Although the school is described as ‘International’ the student body is predominantly Indian and she told me that Indian children’s tastes in reading are very much like those of children in this country. They will frequently request new fiction titles and Dr Jain passes their requests to the school management who invariably provide the required funding.
The CBSE – Central Board of Secondary Education – in India apparently makes it mandatory that every school has a properly funded library and librarian. How shameful that the situation in the UK is currently so different. The Award information booklet gave a two page summary of each librarian’s situation. “One of the challenges that X faces at work is that there is no school budget allocation for library stock.” WHAT! One thing this particular primary librarian did have however was a vocal fanbase, including one boy who captured the hearts of the audience with his emphatic and dramatic endorsement of her qualities. She simply had to stay at the school for generations to come, he said, so that his ‘sister and my other descendants’ would benefit from her role.
The winning librarian’s official title is Learning Resources Centre Manager, but Emma Suffield is seen more as a member of the family by many of the 1400 students at Saint Wilfrid’s C of E Academy in a diverse area of Blackburn, thanks to her personalised, thoughtful and supportive approach to engaging all readers across the school – something that came across well in the school’s polished video presentation. Innovative, imaginative practice, frequently going the extra mile, has led to an impressive 450% increase in book borrowing rates since Emma became responsible for the library in 2014.
Lesley Martin, Chair of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Selection Committee, said: ‘‘It is exciting for the profession to have someone as forward thinking, creative, passionate and professional about school libraries and no doubt with a great career ahead of her. Emma makes a real difference in her school and her community and her contribution to the wider library profession is already making an impact.’’
Noting that the award is a unique and wonderful celebration of the work of school librarians, Alison Tarrant, Chief Executive of the School Library Association, said: “The School Librarian of the Year Award is a brilliant opportunity to showcase the impact that school libraries can make, not just on pupils, but on staff and school culture. Our Honour List this year were all strong contenders and demonstrate the nuance needed when talking about school libraries – no two are the same; they are all reflective of the school around them, and it’s aims and priorities. Last month the launch of the Great School Libraries campaign – a three year campaign spearheaded by SLA, CILIP SLG and CILIP. The campaign has three aims: to secure school library funding; to produce a national framework for school libraries and recognition of school libraries within the Ofsted framework. Our Honour List support this aim and prove that supported school libraries can make a difference.”
The three other school librarians on the Honour List are:
- Nicki Cleveland at Cannon Park Primary School
- Dr. Chhavi Jain at Manav Rachna International School, Gurugram, New Delhi
- Alison Kennedy at St George’s Ascot
HarperCollins has announced that it will publish two new books by Veronica Roth, bestselling YA author of the Divergent series and the Carve the Mark duology…
First up… will be a collection of short stories, titled The End and Other Beginnings: Stories from the Future, which take place in future worlds that feature advanced technology.
The End and Other Beginnings: Stories from the Future is slated for publication in fall 2019; Roth’s untitled YA novel is anticipated in 2021.
Vladimir Radunsky, an illustrator who used an abundance of artistic styles to create captivating children’s books about subjects including Albert Einstein, a rapping dog and a towering stalk of asparagus, died on Sept. 11 at a hospital near his home in Rome. He was 64.
Other obituaries/death notices:
HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY DAY 2018
I hope everyone has heard about this special anthology featuring poems by the National Poetry Day Ambassadors,
National Poetry Day is coordinated by Forward Arts Foundation, a registered charity that celebrates excellence in poetry and increase public knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of poetry in all its forms.
In a long in-depth piece for The Atlantic, ALEXIS C. MADRIGAL takes a highly reflective look at the rise of ChuChu TV
It took energy and institutional imagination to fix TV for kids. Where will that come from today? Who will pay for the research and, later, the production? How would or could YouTube implement any kind of blanket recommendation?
I worry about these questions a lot, and I wonder if our 21st-century American institutions are up to the challenges they’ve created with their market successes and ethical abdications. Even so, when I visited Chennai, I felt okay about the media future we’re heading into. The toddler videos that ChuChu is posting on YouTube are cultural hybrids, exuberant and cosmopolitan, and in a philosophical sense they presuppose a world in which all children are part of one vast community, drawing on the world’s collective heritage of storytelling. That’s a rich narrative rootstock, with lots of lessons to teach—and right now who’s better poised to make the most of it than ChuChu and other companies like it, especially if they can learn from the legacy of American educational TV?
ChuChu’s founders aren’t blind to the power of new-media platforms, or the undertow of crappy YouTube producers, or the addictive power of devices, but the magnitude and improbability of their success more than balances the scales. They don’t quite seem to know why (or how, exactly) they’ve been given this opportunity to speak to millions from an office in South India, but they’re not going to throw away the chance. After all, there are so many stories to tell.
Here’s a collection of 12 inspiring children’s books that will make a wonderful addition to any budding activist’s library.
This is a splendid piece:
Laureate na nÓg Sarah Crossan, PJ Lynch, Eoin Colfer, Niamh Sharkey and Siobhán Parkinson on family reading
Warmly recommended, and not just for Eoin Colfer’s humorous description of his 1970s childhood:
I grew up in a dark time, dear reader. A time when there were only two TV channels and an inordinate amount of the programmes on these channels seemed to feature cows being sold or elderly men pounding their knees with spoons. We had heard rumours of the existence of a video game, but that was in America and needed a supercomputer the size of a slurry tank to play it. And if you wanted to enjoy modern music you were forced to drop a metal needle with pinpoint accuracy onto a revolving and fragile plastic disk. Honestly it was easier for Indiana Jones to steal the golden idol than it was for me to listen to Pink Floyd.
Read the whole piece: