In a significant move for the young children’s audio startup, Yoto, Jessica Tarrant, previously editorial director at Hachette (where she was responsible for the Orchard fiction list, and more recently the children’s audio list) has been appointed as content director.
Yoto launched its first hardware product on Kickstarter in November 2017, reaching its funding target after only 5 days. The product shipped in time for Christmas 2018 and since then Yoto has partnered with the Roald Dahl company to create new content based on his classic stories.
Yoto was created by Ben Drury (founder of 7Digital) and Filip (the tech wizard) in 2015 with the aim of making exciting technology and music products that children can control without screens.
“Most streaming services are created by adults for adults, and it shows,” argues Ben. “They are essentially databases which you access via text queries, a song title or artist, for instance. This doesn’t work for children. With Yoto we have drawn on Montessori principles to give children a satisfying, tactile experience. You put the card in the slot and it plays. And with no screen, no microphone and no camera, we think we have answered the real concerns parents have about technology for kids.”
Yoto features its own carefully connected smart speaker that children control with a physical card.
ACHUKA would be very interested to hear from any families who are using Yoto.
Yesterday CILIP announced the key dates for the 2020 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards.
Monday 4th November 2019
Thursday 20th February 2020
Thursday 19th March 2020
Wednesday 17th June 2020
Winner announcement: Medal and Shadowers’ Choice Award winners announced
At the same time they revealed that for the 2020 Carnegie cycle they will be piloting revised judging criteria. Jake Hope, the new Chair of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards Working Party, described this as “re-positioning the Awards’ criteria in order that they connect with the broadest range of readers possible.” And added, ““We hope our new criteria will facilitate open consideration and discussion both by judges and shadowing groups as they read the books in contention for the Medals, and lead to lists of titles that reflect the broad range of perspectives, experiences and voices encompassed by our readers.”
A similar review of the judging process is promised for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration during the next Awards cycle.
Also announced yesterday was a new partnership with Inclusive Minds, who will provide guidance on titles in contention for the Medals and contribute to the Shadowing Scheme. The Press Release explained that “Awards judges will have access to an expert network of Inclusion Ambassadors, to help increase their awareness and understanding of inclusion and representation within nominated titles. A dedicated Inclusion Ambassador Shadowing Group will read the shortlisted titles, providing feedback from their lived experience to help inform judges’ decision-making.”
“Readers of eight to 12 are well served for imaginary worlds this month.,” says Imogen Russell Williams, introducing her monthly children’s books roundup for Guardian Review…
The following three books have been shortlisted for the Bookbug Prize, co-oridinated by Scottish Book Trust:
Sophie Johnson: Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood, illustrated by Ella Oakstad
The Prince and the Witch and the Thief and the Bears by Alastair Chisholm, illustrated by Jez Tuya
The Station Mouse by Meg McLaren
Children across Scotland can vote for their favourite. All Primary 1 children receive the three shortlisted books in the Bookbug P1 Family Bag in November. Pupils can take part either by reading the books, or watching the videos of the shortlisted titles on Scottish Booktrust’s website. Voting closes on December 6th, and the winner will be announced on January 29th, 2020.
The 2019 prize invited applicants to submit book materials – including cover, storyboard and spread designs – to the theme of ‘Where I Come From’, aimed at pre-school children up to 12 years. This year’s judging panel includes Templar illustrators, Jonny Duddle, Lara Hawthorne, Lucia Gaggiotti and Frann Preston Gannon.
THE 2019 FINALISTS ARE:
MARIA COCO for The New Swamp
PAULA WHITE for Bread, Buns and Biscuits
SALLY WALKER for Grandpa’s World
The winning entry will be announced at an awards ceremony at Nomad Books in Fulham on the 18th September 2019.
First Place: £750 and the work will be considered by the Templar team for publication
Second Place: £500
Third Place: £250
The winner of the Kelpies Prize 2019 was announced earlier this month at an award ceremony held during Edinburgh International Book Festival. The presentation was made by author and illustrator Catherine Rayner.
Christopher Mackie, an Edinburgh-based dentist, has won a year of mentoring with the editorial team at Floris Books, along with a publication deal, £1,000 cash and a week-long writing retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s creative writing centre.
The Kelpies Prize was launched in 2005 to find the best new Scottish writing for children. The Kelpies Illustration Prize (formerly the Kelpies Design & Illustration Prize) was launched in 2014.
Edinburgh-based illustrator and former teacher Aimee Ferrier was revealed as the winner of the Kelpies Illustration Prize 2019.
Aimee will receive a year of mentoring with the Floris Books design team, as well as a publication deal, £1,000 cash and a ticket to this year’s Picture Hooks conference.
Extract from receommended interview with Steven Malk, of Writers House Literary Agency
What are some current trends you’ve noticed in the children’s publishing world? Do you have any predictions for future growth in the children’s market?
I’ve definitely noted the explosion of graphic novels and heavily illustrated books for older readers, which I find super heartening. There’s a rise in different forms and formats for nonfiction, which for me, as a former history and poli sci major, is very gratifying.
What’s on your manuscript wish list at the moment?
I love coming across a voice I haven’t read before. I love books that open windows into a wide range of experiences. Not many people know it, but I’m a huge fan of mysteries and read them in my spare time whenever I can. I’d love to find a great mystery, especially a mystery with real emotional stakes and a setting we haven’t seen before. I’ve always been a big fan of flawed or unreliable narrators as protagonists.
Can warmly recommend a big feature interview with Malorie Blackman (whose new ‘Noughts & Crosses’ novel, Crossfire, is published early next month)in last weekend’s Sunday Times Magazine. Here is a short extract:
In her 29 years as a published author, however, she has only ever had one black editor. The publishing industry remains overwhelmingly white, and one black novelist Blackman knows had a family suppertime scene rejected on the grounds that, “ this is not authentic enough because black people don’t eat spaghetti bolognese”. Her eyes widen. “I kid you not. So when you’re representing your life and being told by the gatekeepers that it’s not the black experience — because you’ve got a black family eating spaghetti bolognese — it’s not a level playing field. I do have a problem when authentic voices aren’t being allowed the same opportunities to publish their stories that perhaps white authors are.”
For Blackman, the big concern about YA fiction is the current fall in sales. In February, the Bookseller reported they had dropped to their lowest level in 11 years — and she thinks she knows why. Michael Gove’s reforms to the English curriculum are, she fears, “going to kill the love of reading stone dead. You have to engage kids in reading for pleasure. By the time they reach secondary school, they’re not going to be keen on reading if in primary school they’ve been told to underline all the adverbs and count all the adjectives.” She is equally impatient with the idea that children should only read the classics and is a big fan of graphic novels.“This idea of, ‘My child’s only reading comics, what do I do?’ Easy. Buy them more comics!”
The latest book from David Macaulay (best known for The Way Things Work) is not yet published in the UK, but the American edition can be ordered from Amazon).
Crossing on Time, published in May by Roaring Brook Press, showcases the grand steamship that triumphed in the global rivalry to build the fastest and best ocean liner and capped a vital era in transportation.
It also marks the first time Macaulay has made an appearance in one of his own books. The SS United States carried Macaulay, his mother, brother and sister from Bolton, England, to their new home in the United States in 1957, when he was 10 years old.