In May 2004, Mark Smith and Wayne Davies, former colleagues at the Orion Publishing Group, founded Quercus Publishing, which they initially operated out of Smith’s London flat. By 2006, the house had moved to considerably larger digs and had accumulated a staff of 20, plus several bestsellers and numerous awards. Quercus marked two key milestones in 2008, when it launched a children’s list and started an imprint, MacLehose Press, to publish the English translation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Quercus recently made another significant leap, opening a three-person (soon to be four) New York City office to publish children’s and adult books for the North American market.
The winners of the inaugural b small Little Linguist Award were announced today, chosen from hundreds of entries from UK schools and individuals ranging in age from six to eleven, and including stories in Spanish, French and German.
Children were provided with a story template and invited to compose a foreign language book in their own words and pictures, in a celebration of storytelling and foreign language learning.
The competition was launched by b small publishing, and supported by specialist language learning retailer Little Linguist, to promote the cause of primary modern foreign language teaching ahead of its introduction into the National Curriculum. The winners are ‘Est-ce que je peux’ by Willesborough Junior School in the 6-9 years category, and ‘Planeta Americano’ by Ashwin de Silva in the 9-11 years category. Each winner will see their story published as a PDF e-book on the b small website, and receive a library of b small language learning books worth £100.
Favourite feature from the weekend press:
In translation: nine authors pick their favourite children’s fiction
It’s easy for children in the UK to miss out on the wonderful books published overseas. Here, nine children’s authors introduce the books they love
Moon Bear by Gill Lewis, reviewed by Mary Hoffman
Gill Lewis is a vet. I can’t imagine she treats many bears in Somerset, but she writes an utterly convincing story of ursine – and human – behaviour. She has said she wants to upset her readers; well, mission accomplished. But this reader was very satisfied by The Doctor’s comeuppance. Sometimes fiction can achieve what you’d like to see actually happen; and the book gives information about how to help the real bears.
I’ve just picked up on the news that The Lion & Unicorn children’s bookshop is to close in August!
Richmond’s much-loved independent bookshop the Lion & Unicorn, which boasted Roald Dahl as guest of honour at its opening more than 30 years ago, has become the latest victim of rent increases on Britain’s high streets, announcing that it will be shutting up shop in August.
Founded in 1977, the store is one of the only booksellers in the UK devoted solely to children’s books, with its stock ranging from picture books for young children to the latest in teen fiction. The first children’s bookshop ever to win Independent Bookseller of the Year, it has played host to events over the years from authors including Shirley Hughes, Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Pullman and David McKee – plus, at its 1977 opening, Roald Dahl, who had recently published Danny the Champion of the World.
But owner Jenny Morris has now announced that the shop will cease trading, saying that "in recent years our rent has increased to the point where it is now unsustainable. With another rent review due to take place, the decision has been made to terminate our current lease as from August 2013."
Holding the introductory price for one more week only…
Letters to Klaus, a new book bringing together a collection of 100 illustrated envelopes sent to him throughout his career from illustrators including David McKee, Max Velthuijs, Tony Ross, Satoshi Kitamura, Posy Simmonds, Chris Riddell, Axel Scheffler and Emma Chichester Clark is being published exclusively for independent booksellers for Independent Booksellers Week (29 June – 3 July) as part of the Independent Booksellers Week Collectibles range. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Save the Children.
New Zealand author interviewed on New Zealand National Radio – essential listening in the context of the controversy surrounding Into The River
Direct link to the mp3 – click here
Owner of Newmarket’s Arcadia Books, Doris Mousdale says a children’s novel shouldn’t need a warning sticker.
She’s refused to stock the book, which contains foul language including the ‘c’ word, graphic sexual material, and drug taking.
Author hits back at booksellers
Mr Dawe has hit back at booksellers who are refusing to stock his controversial novel.
He says it’s silly some bookshops won’t sell it and they are doing a disservice to their public, but at least people are reacting.
“I’d rather people reacted and hated it, or loved it, than people who are just bored by it.
“That’s the key thing about books. You’ve got to grab people by the soul and give them a good shake.”
Mr Dawe says the controversy is a big surprise because this book is no worse than his earlier book, Thunder Road, which came out a decade ago and didn’t cause a stir.
The New Zealand Daily Herald has criticised, in unequivocal editorial, the selection of Into The River by Ted Dawe as New Zealnd Post Children’s Book Award winner:
Good, well-written stories that go to the heart of a reader and touch the truth of any human experience, including sex, can help a young mind rise above smut. That is why it is a worry when a national award for children’s books is given to a novel that needs to carry a warning.
Some booksellers, we report today, are refusing to display Into the River by Ted Dawe, which took top prize in the recent New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. One explained that it was “unnecessarily graphic” and contained themes the bookseller considered inappropriate for young teenagers.
It contains obscenities and shock references that worthwhile literature does not need. We can only wonder what the judges were thinking, or how much worse the other entries could have been.
Nobody has to wonder at the embarrassment of the award organisers. Last week they sent out parental warning stickers to shops stocking the book, advising them to put it on its covers. The 2013 Kiwi Kids Good Book Guide lists it for children aged 13 and over but one national booksellers’ chain has told all its managers to mark it for over-15s.
The editorial ends, “Teenagers would never say so, but they do not want this sort of fare from their school any more than they would want it from their parents.
It is not prudish or patronising to maintain a certain standard, it is re-assuring them that quality exists and people they respect can recognise it. For many, their early teenage years might be the last in their lives when they read literature worthy of the name.
Reading it might not be easy but it can reward the effort with pleasure far exceeding anything that needs an age warning. The only warning that Dawe’s material really needs is that reading it almost certainly will be a waste of time.”