Friday, 5 December 2008

Journals round up


Bromley, H. (2008). Let’s explore Stick man. Nursery World, 108 (4151). pp. 19-22.

KERR, Judith

Kerr, A. (2008, November 29). Worth a thousand words. Herald abc, pp. 8-9.
Cuttings file no 1191.


Al-Hazza, T. C. & Bucher, K. (2008). Building Arab Americans’ cultural identity and acceptance with children’s literature. Reading Teacher, 62(3), pp. 210-219.


Hampshire, V. (2008). Time for rhyme. Nursery World, 108 (4151), p. 23.


Kerven, R. (2008). The role of the Editor in the creation of a children’s novel. School Librarian, 56(4), pp. 201-202.

Wilson, K. (2008). Harry Potter and the increasing birth rate: an overview of the UK children’s book market. School Librarian, 56(4), pp. 203-204.


Gibbons, G. (2008). The campaign for the book. School Librarian 56(4), pp. 197-198.

SIMON, Francesca

Simon, F. (2008). Up to mischief with Horrid Henry. Newstories, October, p. 10.
Cuttings file no 1192.


Maynard, S., Mackay, S. & Smyth, F. (2008). A survey of young people's reading in England: borrowing and choosing books. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 40(239), pp. 239-253.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Junior Education PLUS

The most recent edition of Junior Education PLUS has the following literature based articles:

Campbell, M. (2008). A light at the end of the tunnel. Junior Education PLUS, 32(12), pp. 15-17.
How picture books can lead children through an exciting multimedia journey, based on Anthony Browne's The Tunnel.

Thomas, H. (2008). In the frame. Junior Education PLUS, 32(12), pp. 24-25.
Using Blue Bailliett’s Chasing Vermeer, which has been described as a Da Vinci Code for kids, to put children’s detective skills to the test.

Also, on page 29 there are suggestions for December's National Year of Reading theme ("Write the future" - see yesterday's post) and on pages 58-59, reviews of favourite books by the guest editor's Year 6 class.


According to an article in today's Herald, sales of children's comic books have rocketed, despite the lure of modern hobbies and pastimes. Clever branding has meant new titles enjoying success are often TV tie-ins, such as Dr Who and In the Night Garden. These are found to be a good way of encouraging young children, especially boys, to read.

Children's writers' blog

If you're interested in how children's books are written, take a look at this blog written by a group of children's authors. It's called An Awfully Big Blog Adventure, subtitled "the ramblings of a few scattered authors...." and contributors include Anne Cassidy and Susan Price. There are also links to the authors' websites.

I was directed to this by the Wordpool newsletter - that's another good site with lots of reviews and advice on children's books.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

National Year of Reading - December

We are almost at the end of the National Year of Reading. December's theme is “Write the future”, a celebration of all forms of writing. I've suggested 3 possible approached to this on our webpage and on leaflets in the Library. These are:

  • What one person writes, others read and technology is bringing reading and writing closer together. Think about blogging, texting or creative writing with a futuristic theme. Investigate the language that new media has created, virtual reality and the future of communication. Think about immediacy in reporting versus thinking first.
  • Pledge reading themed New Year’s resolutions. Tie in the end of the year with the season’s activities and get pupils to pledge to read more. Download “My 2009 reading resolutions” from the National Literacy Trust.
  • “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write something worth reading or do things worth the writing.” Benjamin Franklin, polymath and statesman. (1706-1790)
    Get pupils to write about their own lives and their ambitions for the future, perhaps in a diary format. For this section, I've suggested some books to inspire them, from picture books to teenage novels. See our webpage for full details.

Monday, 24 November 2008

School libraries

Philip Pullman has warned a school in Derbyshire that it will become a "byword for philistinism and ignorance” if it closes its library, reports yesterday's Observer. He joins fellow author Alan Gibbons in a campaign to save the concept of reading for pleasure, including through school libraries. Gibbon's Campaign for the Book is described in a recent article, and if you are interested you can contact him through his website. He also has a blog - the latest posting asserts that Aberdeen city council is planning to make cuts to its Schools Library Service.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Horn Book

Here are some highlights of the November / December issue of the Horn Book Magazine - Vol 84 (6):

Greenstone, D. (2008). Ain’t I great! The problem with self-esteem, pp. 675-680.
A history of the concept of self-esteem and how books can promote it.

McDonnell, C. (2008). Safe passages, pp. 667-673.
What makes a good early-expert-reader book?

Roxburgh, S., Ruth, S. & Ferriter, B. (2008). When e- is for reading, pp. 633-643.
Three children’s book experts share their thoughts about the future of reading in a screen-based world.

Wynne-Jones, Tim. (2008). Tink and Wittgenstein: or, the correspondence between things, pp. 658-662.
Text of a talk ranging over philosophy, the meaning of language and Peter Pan.

Don't forget the Horn Book website where you can access some of the magazine's content, read the editor's blog, sign up for a monthly newsletter or subscribe to their podcast. The last email newsletter contained, for example, an interview with Mini Grey, author of Traction Man.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Journals round-up

Time for a clear-out of articles that have been lurking in my in-tray for a while. All are available in Jordanhill Library, either in the journals themselves or in our cuttings file.


Macfarlane, T. (2008). Age ranging: a step forward? Speaking English, 41(2), pp. 16-19.


Walker, L. (2008, November 19). Skellig the opera prepares to soar. Herald, p. 16.
Cuttings file no 1189.


Calvert, R. (2008). Animals in children’s fiction. Use of English, 60(1), pp.17-46.


Foster, M. and Syme, S. (2008). An illustration of success. Information Scotland, 6(5), p. 13.
Cuttings file no 1184.
The Dundee Picture Book Award.

Guyon, A. (2008). Out of the shadows. . Information Scotland, 6(5), p. 10.
Cuttings file no 1185.
Getting children involved in reading by shadowing the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals.

DAHL, Roald

Day, E. (2008, November 9). My years with Roald, by the “love of his life”. Observer Review, pp. 10-11.
Cuttings file no 1187.
Interview with Dahl’s widow.


Agnew, K. (2008, October 7). Imaginary worlds where everyone is the same colour. Guardian Education, p. 5.
Cuttings file no 1183.
Why are there still so few attractive reading books featuring black and Asian children?

FUNKE, Cornelia.

Johnstone, A. (2008, November 1). “I learned what sort of stories stuck to children’s fingers”. Herald Magazine, pp. 19-23.


Morpurgo, M. (2008). From the horse’s mouth. Radio Times, 8-14 November, pp. 126-127.
Cuttings file no 1188.
Morpurgo has adapted War Horse for the stage and radio.


Frankel, H. (2008, October 3). Rhyme and reason. TES Magazine.
Cuttings file no 1182.
Taking poetry off the page and onto the stage.

Williams, B. (2008). Year 1 Poetry unit 1: pattern and rhyme. Child Education PLUS,85(12), pp. 26-27.


Awesome ambassador (2008). Reading Today, 26(2), p. 26.

WILLIS, Jeanne

Powell, C. (2008). Does size matter? Child Education PLUS, 85(12), pp. 24-25.
Using Mine’s bigger than yours to show small people can still be brave and achieve great things.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Roald Dahl Funny Prize

The winners have now been announced:

Funniest book for children aged 6 and under:

The witch's children go to school by Ursula Jones

Funniest book for children aged 7-14:

Mr Gum and the dancing bear by Andy Stanton

Read more about it here.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Planet of the Dogs

I've received an email about an American series called Planet of the Dogs. Here's the information if you want to check it out:

"We are introducing our Planet of the Dogs series of children's books to the UK. For more information and sample chapters, please visit

For information on our involvement with therapy dog reading programs, please visit
Best regards,

Robert McCarty
Barking Planet Productions"

Friday, 7 November 2008

Books for Keeps

Issue 173 of Books for Keeps (November 2008) is now out and jammed full of interesting articles and reviews. It starts with a piece by Jill Bennett on "noisy" picture books - not, as I first thought, books with sound effects, but stories with lots of repetition, rhyming and sounds for the children to make. This is intended to provide fun and enjoyment while also paying attention to phonics - all the books she refers to are either in Jordanhill Library already, or soon will be.

Philippa Pearce, author of one of my favourite childrens' books, Tom's midnight garden, died in December 2006, and a series of memorial lectures has been organised. The first was by writer and academic Victor Watson, and a shortened version is published here. He concentrates on Pearce's "word perfect" skills - "every word, every nuance, every detonation and connotation, the sound, shape and melody of every phrase and sentence were considered, tried out and sounded out, and finally approved by a profoundly self-critical and discriminating wordsmith."

In some of the regular features, the "Authorgraph" is about Ralph Steadman, Michael Rosen writes about the death of his father in his Laureate's Log and the "classic in short" is Judith Kerr's Mog, the forgetful cat. This is another favourite - as a cat-lover myself I appreciate the accuracy of Mog's generally loveable gormlessness, and admit to shedding a tear when she finally used up her nine lives in Goodbye Mog. The usual comprehensive, age-defined review pages are complemented this month by a section on ten of the best Christmas books.

Follow the links for Jordanhill Library holdings of books by Philippa Pearce and Judith Kerr.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Philip Pullman and the censors

This is a bit out of date, but I'm having a Friday afternoon clear out! Philip Pullman's book Northern Lights was one of the most challenged books in the USA last year, where it is known, as was the film, as The Golden Compass. This was mostly because of its "religious viewpoint". The story was reported in The Guardian last month and Pullman himself wrote a piece on the evils of censorship in Check out our own Banned Booklist (books which have been challenged elsewhere in the past, not books we've banned, as a student once wrongly assumed!) In the words of Oscar Wilde:

"There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written, that is all."

Age ranging part 5

Time for another round-up on the campaign against age-ranging, which has its own site, No to Age Banding with lists of supporters and their comments. Perhaps the most impassioned is Philip Pullman's speech to The Society of Authors Conference. CILIP has also issued a statement in favour of the campaign which appears on the site, and which has generated some publicity in the Guardian and the Bookseller. More comment is forthcoming from the States, e.g. in Read Roger, the blog of the editor of The Horn Book magazine, Roger Sutton. While generally supportive, he's a bit critical of Pullman's speech, or "rhetorical pearls" as he puts it. Roger feels the speech is too much about the feelings of the authors and illustrators, whom Pullman calls "the people who matter most", and not enough about the feelings of the children who will be reading the books:

"They are the people who matter most in this question. They are the ones who will have to suffer walking around with a book they want to read but are officially too mature for; they are the ones who will be told "you aren't ready" for a book deemed Too Hard. The problem with the age-banding proposal is not that it ignores authors, it's that it ignores young readers."

It's difficult to fault that.

Friday, 24 October 2008

National Year of Reading - November

The November theme for the National Year of Reading is Screen Reads. On the Jordanhill NYR page I have listed books in stock which have been made into films or TV programmes. We don't necessarily have the corresponding DVD for all of them, but I've marked those we have.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Junior Education PLUS.

The November issue of Junior Education PLUS - teaching resources for ages 7-11 - is now available. Literature related articles are:

Lorraine Petersen on The power of poetry (pp 12-13). Discover how poetry can promote inclusive learning and open up experiences to SEN children.

Mind how you go pet (pp. 24-25) - Huw Thomas on using Emily Madden's book about a pet shop - Thanks for telling me, Emily. (In stock at Jordanhill).

A creative topic on fairy tales - various articles from p. 34.

Huw Thomas again on Cornelia Funke's Inkheart, which is about to be released as a film (p. 47). The book is also in stock at Jordanhill.

Reviews of sci-fi books pp. 59-59.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

More poetry

Last week's TES (17th October) had a couple of articles on poetry. In Poetry in decline, Helen Ward reports that Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, has warned that the teaching of poetry is being undermined by the free market. As fewer primary teachers appreciate verse, demand for new books to be published has dwindled. In Let verse loose in every corner of your school, Michael Rosen suggests that what is needed is a specific poetry curriculum and proposes some guidelines himself. To help you, don't forget our own Jordanhill poetry page!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Poetry competitions

The National Year of Reading has a competition for schools to win a visit from Children's Laureate, Michael Rosen. The closing date is 12th December.

The BBC wants primary school pupils to engage with learning and reciting poetry. Every primary school in the UK can enter a child aged 7 - 11 to compete for the title of UK Poetry Recital Champion, and the chance to represent their school and region in a BBC competition, to be shown on TV in spring 2009. The closing date is 19th December.

Age ranging part 4

The Education Librarians' Group (ELG) has come out against the idea of age guidance being printed on children's books. ELG chair Lucy Gildersleeves has made the following statement:

"We appreciate that some adults who wish to choose material for a child may be grateful for the guidance. We feel, however, that retailers already do a sufficient job of this kind of age banding via their shelf displays and that there are many suitable review guides which can offer advice for teachers.

It is ELG's opinion that such banding could easily embarrass and discourage readers who find their level is 'below' the indicated age - and equally it could hold back confident readers 'above' the level. We are familiar with the parental perception that "you can't read that because it's for older children". It is much more important that the needs and tastes of the individual child be considered - in libraries, in bookshops and by teachers - in line with the present educational commitment to a personalised approach, than applying a banding system that will either necessarily be too rigid or will have to be so encompassing to be too vague to be of any point.

We feel that publishers have experimented with this kind of banding in the past (and recall frustration at the time with what felt to us as readers 'wrong' targeting) and note that publishers dropped this attempt. We do not see the need to reintroduce it now, and that publishers seem to be confused about what they are really trying to achieve here."

You can also read the views of award-winning author Nicola Morgan on the website. She too is against age-ranging for many of the reasons outlined above, and thinks it's all just to make it easier for supermarkets to sell books. She gives some helpful suggestions for people who might not know how to choose books for children. Basically, go to a proper bookshop where there are staff trained to advise you. (Or of course, ask a librarian).

Child Education PLUS

Literature-related activities for 4-7s in the November issue:

Baddies strike back! The wolves and trolls in Storyland have had enough of being portrayed as the bad guys. Clare Bevan tells the real fairy tales - lots of ideas for turning the old versions on their heads. As well as the article, there is supporting material to download from the Child Education PLUS website. (The theme is continued in an art project to make a troll's bridge and in the book reviews page which features "ferocious fairytale fiends".)

Halloween. Primary school teacher Amy Arnold describes how she based her Halloween activities on Helen Nicoll's Meg and Mog books and Julia Donaldson's Room on the broom. Her class was excited to learn that Meg and Mog were going to move in with them and so the children needed to build them a house. This stimulated their reading and writing (sending letters to Meg and Mog) and their creativity in designing the house.

Poetry. Brenda Williams starts a series of poetry units for year 1 with Using the senses.

Favourite books. Caroline Sanderson writes about The growing story. Originally written by Ruth Krauss in 1947, this has been brought up to date with illustrations by Helen Oxenbury. It tells the story of a year in the life of one small boy.

Start with a story. Jayne Gould suggests activities based on Julia Donaldson's The magic paintbrush. This helps children learn about China.

All the books mentioned are available in Jordanhill Library.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Journal round up

Sometimes children's book articles can be found in places other than the usual children's literature publications - here are a few from journals that have recently been added to stock:


Ma, J. (2008). “Reading the word and the world” – how mind and culture are mediated through the use of dual-language storybooks. Education 3-13, 36(3), pp. 237-251.


Kitamura, S. (2008). My places. Teaching Geography, 33(3), pp.148-149.
Author of picture books such as When sheep cannot sleep looks back at the places that have shaped his life.


Glenn, W. (2008). Gossiping girls, insider boys, A-list achievement : examining and exposing young adult novels consumed by conspicuous consumption. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 52(1), pp. 34-42.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Paul Bajoria and Debi Gliori

There were interesting articles on these two authors in last Saturday's (Glasgow) Herald. However, they were in the arts supplement which doesn't seem to be available online so I've put them in Jordanhil Library's cuttings file (no 1175).

Bajoria, author of the Printer's Devil trilogy, was writing about the attraction of sequels and how, while developing his characters, he became interested in his own family history. I didn't know these books at all - Mog and Nick are orphans who befriend one another in the London of the Bow Street Runners and public hangings, and it's only towards the end of the first book that they discover they are actually siblings. I've now ordered all three titles for the library.

Debi Gliori is much more familiar - we have all her books. This article deals with her latest, The Trouble with Dragons, an environmental parable which treads the line between conveying danger and offering hope.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Scottish Book Trust

The latest edition of the Scottish Book Trust email newsletter came out recently. They've added some audio content to their Royal Mail Awards site by recording Bunker 10 author J. A. Henderson's recent session for 12-16 year olds at their North Ayrshire event. You can listen to his full session and hear Garnock Academy pupils talking about their responses, as well as listen to an in-depth interview with Henderson himself. October's Book of the Month is Mike Nicholson's Grimm - if you have the misfortune to spend a night at Hotel Grimm, it may be the last night you spend anywhere! Or so the residents of Aberfintry believe. From its vantage point high above the town, the hotel has long been the source of dead guests and ghost stories. They have a competition to win a copy of the book which closes on 31st October.

Word Pool

Word Pool is a useful children's literature site for parents, teachers and writers. You can also sign up for their newsletter - the latest edition came through at the end of September and included, for example, news about new novelty books, a book on signing with babies, and the latest Terry Pratchett.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Junior Education PLUS October 08.

The latest edition of this magazine for teaching 7-11s has a few literature related articles. On page 11, you can find ideas for the National Year of Reading's October theme, Word of mouth. Huw Thomas writes about literary activities using Tom Becker's Darkside and its follow-ups, Lifeblood and Nightrap, on pages 20-21. These books are set in a mysterious other world hidden within contemporary London where the main characters, Ricky and Jonathan, encounter all sorts of devilsome villains. Finally, the review section on pages 58-59 features a selection of spooky reads.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

National Year of Reading - October

The October theme for the National Year of Reading is Word of Mouth, which is a celebration of oral storytelling traditions and reading aloud. I've updated the Jordanhill page to reflect this, with information on resources such as giant picture books and storysacks.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Eoin Colfer

There was a profile of Eoin Colfer in yesterday's Observer, to go with the announcement that he is about to write a new volume of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - seven years after the death of its creator, Douglas Adams. Check also the Jordanhill catalogue to find our holdings of Artemis Fowl and other Colfer books.

3 new journals.

The following are now in the library:

Nursery Education PLUS, October 2008. Ideas for working with nursery age children - literature based ones include how to get the most from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's new book Stick Man, and an article on October's National Year of Reading theme, Word of Mouth. There's also a review section of books on the weather.

Child Education PLUS, October 2008. Similar, but for ages 4-7. Literature-related features are on Lauren Child's Spells and Mick Inkpen's Penguin Small. The book reviews feature Christmas.

Books for Keeps, September 2008. Mick Inkpen features again, as do Anne Cassidy and Peter Dickinson. Julia Jarman writes on translating story into film and Harriet Dombey explains the thinking behind Maryanne Wolf's Proust and the squid: the story and science of the reading brain. (Harper, 2007). (At Jordanhill, this is shelved at D612.82 WOL). As always, there are several pages of reviews for all ages from pre-school to young adult. And don't forget, Books for Keeps has its own website.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Age-ranging - part 3.

This argument simmers on. Authors campaigning against age ranging on children's books have found an unexpected ally in children's minister Ed Balls, who has raised doubts about the scheme and advised parents to seek expert guidance instead of relying on cover labels. Read about in in the article in the Guardian on September 12th. For parts 1 and 2 of this saga, click on the age-ranging label below.

Children's poetry competition

Children's Poetry Bookshelf is running a competition for children aged 7-11. Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition, with Michael Rosen chairing the judges, requires them to write a poem about "Work". This ties in with the theme for National Poetry Day 2008, which is on Thursday, October 9th. Entry forms can be downloaded from the Poetry Bookshelf site, as can materials for teachers to help children write their poems.

And of course, don't forget our own Jordanhill poetry page.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Roald Dahl Funny Prize

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize, is the first award to honour books that make us giggle. The shortlist was announced on the 8 September and winners will be announced on November 13th. There's also a related article by Nicolette Jones on humorous writing for children in the Telegraph of 6th September - Why making children laugh is a serious business.

Friday, 5 September 2008

National Year of Reading Poem

The National Year of Reading now has its own poem, Words are ours, written by the Children's Laureate, Michael Rosen. This is also printed at the end of a recent interview with Rosen in the Independent, "Give children books not SATS", in which he deplores the effects of testing on children's enthusiam for books.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Junior Education PLUS

The September 2008 edition of Junior Education PLUS is now in the library. Like its sister publication, Child Education PLUS, which I wrote about last month, it has lots of useful teaching ideas, this time covering ages 7-11. Those with literature connections include suggestions for the National Year of Reading's September theme, You are what you read (p. 11), a back-to-school poem (p. 13) and an article about Chris Riddell's Ottoline series (pp. 21-22). Ottoline is a quirky girl detective who solves crimes with her hairy companion, Mr Munroe. Ottoline and the yellow cat is filled with little games and diagrams that children will love - it's already in the library, and the follow-up, Ottoline goes to school, has been ordered.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Scottish Book Trust

The Scottish Book Trust website has recently had a make over and there is now a monthly e-mail newsletter which you can sign up to. I'm belatedly catching up with their August one which contains a couple of interesting children's literature items - the first is an exclusive online story for young people, The other side, by Marcus Sedgwick; the other is news of the Young Scottish Book Trust Blog, described as "thoughts, updates and other randomness from Scottish Book Trust's Children & Young People's team..." It's only got a few postings so far, including a guest entry from the aforementioned Marcus Sedgwick, but is worth keeping an eye on.

National Year of Reading - September

The National Year of Reading's September theme is "You are what you read" - use reading to celebrate and explore cultural, local and personal identities. Reading can help us find out more about who we are, and help us shape who we become - you could discover more about the places we come from and how others lived before us by reading about family or local history. However, many children just want to know “All about me”, so I've gone for the personal and called Jordanhill's September booklist exactly that. There are picture books and poetry books to encourage children to explore their sense of self, and a section of books on the human body, including a couple of fabulous pop-ups. All are in stock - shelfmarks can be found through the catalogue.

NYR itself has recently launched a new improved Reading Ideas section with fantastic and practical ideas for teens and families, adults and children as well as schools, businesses and publishers, on how to include reading in day-to-day activities.

Jacqueline Wilson and the swear word row

You might have heard last week about the row over one of Jacqueline Wilson's books (My sister Jodie) being removed from Asda because a customer complained about the use of a swear word in it. The publisher has now agreed to change one letter of the offending word when the book is reprinted so that it will read "twit". You can read the report in the Telegraph and make up your own mind - is this censorship, or is the use of such language merely a reflection of the way children talk in the playground anyway? We have a copy in our collection and I felt, given the public fuss, I should maybe note on the date label that some language might offend - although our books are more likely to be read by students than "real live children", if they are taking them out on placement, that might not be the case. On the other hand, I'm sure we have plenty other books with words which will offend somebody somewhere, but which have not been annotated. I've done it anyway, then students can decide for themselves.

Thursday, 21 August 2008


JacketFlap is a comprehensive children's book resource and social networking web site for people in the children's book industry. Over 2,700 published authors and illustrators are members, as well as many librarians, teachers and publishers. Facilities include 700+ children's book-related blogs, a database of 900,000+ books and reviews of titles on members' bookshelves.

Child Education PLUS

The September 2008 edition of this journal has arrived in the library. It has all sorts of useful ideas for use in the classroom with 4-7s, e.g. this month there are articles on teaching about festivals and rainforests, both popular topics judging by the number of books we lend on them. There are always some articles and reviews relevant to children's literature too. Here, there are reviews of picture books on a food theme, Karen Miller writes about her favourite children's book for this age group, Ronda and David Armitage's Lighthouse Keeper's Picnic, and Jayne Gould suggests using Jackie French's Diary of a wombat as a basis for a cross-curricular topic on animals and Australia. We don't have this in stock, but it looked so good I've ordered it.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Enid Blyton is Britain's favourite author.

Enid Blyton has been voted Britain's best-loved author in a survey which proves that the stories we read as children retain a special place in our affections. Roald Dahl was second and J K Rowling was third in a poll of adult readers. The first adult author was Jane Austen at number four - for more details, see the article in yesterday's Telegraph.

Children's Literature Update

Holidays etc have got in the way of work on the Children's Collection recently. However, the summer edition of Children's Literature Update - our current awareness index to articles held at Jordanhill - is now available for students to collect from the Library. Scarily, the post-graduate teaching courses start next week - where did the summer go?

I've already started collecting articles for the autumn edition and here are a few snippets:


Patee, A. (2008). A second look: Sweet Valley High. Horn Book Magazine. 84(4), pp. 413-417


Hunt, J. (2008). Worth a thousand words. Horn Book Magazine. 84(4), pp. 421-426.


Calvert, R. (2008). Children’s historical fiction. Use of English, 59(2), pp. 145-159.

Calvert, R. (2008). Children’s historical fiction: part two. Use of English, 59(3), pp. 215-230.


Rosen, M. (2008). All about picture books. Nursery World, 4133, pp. 19-22.


Selznick, B. (2008). Caldecott Medal Acceptance. Horn Book Magazine. 84(4), pp. 393-406

Mack, T. (2008). The amazing Brian Selznick: a profile in three acts. Horn Book Magazine. 84(4), pp. 408-411.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Diversity Award from Frances Lincoln.

The Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children's Book Award is a new award for a story by an unpublished author. Either the story or the cultural origins of the author need to reflect cultural diversity. The prize is £1,500 plus the option for Frances Lincoln to publish the novel. The work must be aimed at children aged eight to 12 years, and the writer must be previously unpublished. The closing date is 30th January 2009, with the winner to be announced in April 2009. The Bookseller has more details.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Books for Keeps

The July 2008 edition of Books for Keeps is now available. Contents include:

  • James Mayhew on his "Katie" picture books which aim to introduce children to art through stories.
  • A contribution by Caroline Horn to the debate on publishing age guidance on books.
  • An article by Joanna Carey on the Booktrust's campaign, The Big Picture, to promote picture books. As part of this, it has named the top 10 rising talents in illustration - these include Oliver Jeffers, Polly Dunbar and Emily Gravett.
  • A discussion of children's literature in the Second World War.
  • An interview with Jerry Spinelli, author of the Stargirl books.
  • "Classics in short" - Just William.

There are also lots of shorter articles and reviews of the latest titles for children.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Highland Children's Book Awards

The Highland Children's Book Awards have been won by:

Picture Book: Jackie Morris for The snow leopard

8+ category: Chris Riddell for Ottoline and the yellow cat

12+ category: Pauline Francis for The raven queen

We have the first two in the Library and I've ordered The raven queen.

National Year of Reading - July and August

The National Year of Reading theme for July is Rhythm and Rhyme. As we already have a poetry page on the library website, I've linked to that. It features our lists of poetry books for younger children (Funny poems; Scottish poems; Spooky poems; Weather and seasons) and a list of teenage poetry. There are also links to other sites for finding, reading and teaching poetry.

August's theme is Read the Game. The influence of sport can help promote reading, so I've used this theme to draw attention to some collection of sports stories and, because it's an Olympic year, have included some titles on the Games and on China, especially Beijing where they will be held.

Carnegie and Greenaway Medals

CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) awards the Carnegie Medal for an outstanding book for children and young people, and the Kate Greenaway Medal for an outstanding book in terms of illustration. Every year, thousands of schools shadow the medals and use the shadowing website to post reviews and share their views. Last year, a special site was added to celebrate 70 years of the medals with a living archive of information about all the past winners. This year's winners have just been announced: they are Philip Reeve and Emily Gravett.

Reeve won the Carnegie for his novel Here lies Arthur, a dark retelling of the Arthurian legend which portrays the king as more of a gangster than a hero, and Merlin (or Myrddin) as a hard nosed Alastair Campbell type who tries to build him up into a leader who can unite the British against the Saxons. The Telegraph published an article about the award last week. Reeve has already won three other major prizes, the Nestle Children's Gold Award (2002) and the Blue Peter Book of the Year (2003) for his first book, Mortal engines , and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in 2006 for A darkling plain. He has also entered the debate on age-ranging, which I have covered a couple of times. According to the Bookseller, he supports putting age guidance on books, which he feels will give him some say over where his titles are stocked in bookshops. Click here for those in stock at Jordanhill Library.

Gravett's award winning title is Little Mouse's big book of fears. The Guardian covered her on both June 27th and June 28th. One of the points of interest is that she used rat pee to discolour the pages of this book about a phobic mouse who eventually, after much nervous nibbling, feels better when he realises that even humans can be cowardy custards too. This is Gravett's fourth title - she also won the Greenaway medal for her debut picture book, Wolves. Again, check here for our holdings.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Keith Gray

Check out the article by Sam Phipps in The Herald last week about Keith Gray. It describes a creative writing workshop he is running in his role as "virtual writer-in- residence" for Scottish Book Trust. However, this is a workshop with a difference. The participants are S2 pupils from a school in Castle Douglas, and he has taken them to Ross Bay, about seven miles away, which is one of the settings in Gray's latest book, Ostrich Boys. This is about some friends who kidnap their dead pal's ashes and bring them all the way from Cleethorpes for a final send-off. (It's not in our library yet, but you can check what else Jordanhill has on the catalogue here.)

Although Gray's role does involve school visits like this one, he also interacts with young readers and writers via Scottish Book Trust's website, giving tips via podcasts and blogs. There is also a creative writing competition for 12-16s and an opportunity to receive new stories via email.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Lauren Child

There was an article about Lauren Child in the Observer Review on Sunday 22nd June: Have rat, will travel . The odd title refers to her picture book, That pesky rat (Orchard 2002) - part of the profit from a new edition of this book will contribute to a UNESCO campaign she is launching tomorrow (25/6/08), "My life is a story", to help educate deprived children all over the world. The article tells you a bit about Lauren's life and how she came to write the Clarice Bean series - she is also famous for the Charlie & Lola books and TV programmes.

As well as being accessible from the link above, we have a copy of the article in Jordanhill Library (cuttings file no 1165) and you can also check our holdings of Lauren Child's books on the catalogue.

PS 7/7/08 - there is now a further article about Lauren Child, from Saturday's Herald Magazine, in the cuttings file - no 1170.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Primary boys into books

Dads and sons ‘Bond’ over spy novels - New £5 million Government scheme to get primary boys reading more

This is a press release from the Department for Children, School's and Families - for England, of course, but still interesting. The £5 million scheme, Primary Boys into Books, expands the programme launched by Ministers last year for boys aged 11-14. Public libraries select free books from the list drawn up by the School Library Association, and deliver book boxes to schools in their local area. Dads are encouraged to take a look too, with authors like Anthony Horowitz, Stephen Hawking and film maker Luc Besson all making an appearance. The books provide a great opportunity for fathers and sons to read together, and while dads are getting stuck into the new Bond novel their sons are reading Charlie Higson’s best selling young James Bond books.

Age-ranging - part 2.

I blogged on 22nd April about the proposal to put suggested age-ranges on children's fiction books, which has turned out to be quite a controversial issue with many authors being against it. I added a PS to the original post with some reactions but feel there is enough now to add a second entry. In the Guardian (12/6/08, p. 37), Simon Juden writes that adults unfamiliar with children's books would welcome the guidance on content and age-ranging could both help them and boost sales. The Society of Authors has also entered the debate (Bookseller, 13/6/08, p.7), calling for age guidance plans to be temporarily suspended pending a review following on the authors revolt against them. Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, also has a perspective to offer. There'll be more to follow I'm sure.

And, PS, there is more. The Bookseller, 10th July, describes a recent meeting between the Publishers Association, the Society of Authors and Philip Pullman (on behalf of almost 3,000 signatories of the online statement "No to age banding" which now include J K Rowling). The two sides presented conflicting research into the issue - the SoA said that 77% of authors were against age guidance, while publishers insisted that 75% of authors have agreed to it.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

From the cuttings file

Here's a roundup of things I've recently added to the library's cuttings file, which haven't been covered elsewhere in the blog:


Jones, N. (2008, May 31). “The fun thing is still making the book”. Telegraph, p. 12.
Cuttings file no 1161.
Allan Ahlberg has a string of children's classics to his name, but he's still as modest as ever.


Horn, C. (2008, 21 March). Books for the boys. Children’s Bookseller, pp. 4-5.
Cuttings file no 1157.
As publishers' confidence in "boys' fiction" rises, the focus turns to exciting marketing campaigns and non-fiction as a growth area.


Buchanan, T. (2008). Are you sitting comfortably? Sesame, 237, p. 29.
Cuttings file no 1163.
Pullman discusses fairy tales, the dangers of ignoring the arts and being labelled "the most dangerous author in Britain".


Cremin,T. (2008). Teachers’ reading and links with libraries. Update, 7(6), pp. 40-43.
Cuttings file no 1162.
Primary teachers' knowledge of books is arguably insufficient for their work and their relative lack of involvement with libraries is of considerable concern.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Texting boosts children's literacy?

Research has found that children should be encouraged to send more text messages because texting can improve literacy. Professor David Crystal believes that sending frequent texts helps children’s reading and writing because of the imaginative abbreviations needed.

For ful details, see:
Times, 25 May 2008

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The Horn Book

The Horn Book Magazine is an American publication about books for children and young adults. The current edition (May / June 2008) has a theme about family reading, which starts with an article by Megan Lambert in which she writes about looking for books that reflect her family’s reality:

Lambert, M. (2008), Reading about families in my family. Horn Book, 84(3), pp. 261-263.

This is followed by a number of short contributions from parents (who are also writers) on how they encouraged their children to read.

Major articles include an interview with Rudine Sims Bishop who has contributed significantly to the scholarship dealing with African American children’s literature:

Horning, K. (2008). An interview with Rudine Sims Bishop. Horn Book, 84(3), pp. 247-259

Susan Cooper, author of the Dark is Rising sequence argues fantasy writers provide parables to explain life’s mysteries:

Cooper, S. (2008). Unriddling the world. Horn Book, 84(3), pp. 271-281.

Patty Campbell writes about a trend for young adult literature to feature dead characters:

Campbell, P. (2008). YA lit and the deathly fellows. Horn Book, 84(3), pp. 357-361.

Finally, Anne Quirk contributes to the ongoing controversy over whether Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is anti-religion:

Quirk, A. (2008). God knows, Philip Pullman. Horn Book, 84(3), pp. 362-3.

The Horn Book also has a website where you can access some of the magazine's content, read the editor's blog, sign up for a monthly newsletter or subscribe to their podcast.

Monday, 2 June 2008

National Year of Reading - June's theme.

NYR's June theme is Reading Escapes, and there are lots of ways to interpret this. You could focus on holiday reading, or how reading helps you escape into different worlds, through fantasy or imaginary lands. If children are going on holiday, you could look at books about the places they will visit, and if they aren’t going away, they could read about their home town and write their own travel guides. Another idea is to ask them to choose their desert island books, a bit like the radio programme, Desert Island Discs, or you could be more literal and look at escape stories and adventures.

I've created a list from Jordanhill Library stock using the holiday idea, including picture books, stories, poems and information books.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Meg Rosoff

Meg Rossoff won the Carnegie Medal last year for her teenage novel Just in case (Puffin, 2006). In her acceptance speech, Rosoff expressed surprise that she had won - because she thought her book was too black and strange. Just in case is about a boy whose obsession with fate nearly kills him, and she never thought this would appeal to a majority of readers, let alone judges. Some people have even questioned whether it's an appropriate book for teens at all. However, she rebuts this with the argument that subjects like sex, death, war and madness interest teenagers, probably more than they interest the rest of us. Adults have mortgages to pay and families to feed and this doesn't leave much time for considering the bigger questions of life.You can see what you think by reading the full text of the speech in the following journal, held in Jordanhill Library:

Rosoff, M. (2008). Meg Rosoff’s speech from the CILIP Carnegie / Kate Greenaway Dinner 2007. Youth Library Review, 38, pp. 19-20.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Is Harry Potter boring?

In my original version of this post, I attributed the view that Harry Potter is "too boring and grown-up for young readers" to Michael Rosen. This was as a result of reading an article headlined just that in the Times (May 19th), which had provoked a lot of debate. However, this is not exactly what Rosen said - see his Guardian column published the next day, "What I really said about Harry Potter".

In the Guardian of 22nd May, Bidisha widened the discussion - "When Harry met sexism: critics just won't accept female fantasy writers as the latest round of JK Rowling-bashing shows" - saying that Rosen had picked up on the acceptability of belittling Rowling and that "according to the backlash, Rowling is swell for dim kiddies, along with Susan Cooper and Diana Wynne Jones..........whie Philip Pullman and Philip Reeve are worthy of adult analysis."

Read them all and see what you think!

Rosen creates new children's prize

Michael Rosen has created a new book prize celebrating the funniest books for children as part of his work as Children's Laureate. It will be called the Roald Dahl Funny Prize because, as Rosen says, if there had been a prize for funny books when Dahl was about he would have won it every time. Read more about the award in this week's Bookseller.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

News snippets

Here are some recent news stories on literature and literacy:

A replacement for the Nestle Children's Book Prize is on the cards.
Bookseller, p9, 9 May 2008

Research in the Journal of Archives of Disease in Childhood confirms that children who are read to from an earlier age have better language development.
Guardian, p13, 13 May 2008

An important new Department for Children, Schools and Families funded initiative has been launched to help every child love reading. (England and Wales).
Teachernet, 8 May 2008

Research published by the Institute of Education shows that children who receive Reading Recovery support through the Every Child a Reader (ECaR) programme are getting higher than average results for their age. (England and Wales).
Department for Children, Schools and Families, 9 May 2008

Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen thinks he might have created the world's first video poetry book. Some years ago, he wrote a book of poems for children called The Hypnotiser which is now out of print. As he couldn't get anyone to reprint it, he asked his son Joe to film him performing the book. He might do more if this is popular - you can find it on his website. Jordanhill Library has a large collection of Michael Rosen books, including The Hypnotiser - click here for the full list from our catalogue.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Books for Keeps / Teen Titles

Books for Keeps (issue 170) and Teen Titles (issue 41) are now available. Highlights of Books for Keeps include an article by Beverley Naidoo on the KidsLibs Trust Kenya, a look by Julia Eccleshare at the Branford Boase Award for first novels, and an interview with Frank Cottrell Boyce. The series on reading in the middle years (9-11) concludes by considering inclusion. Teen Titles has interviews with several authors including Keith Charters and David Clement-Davies, all conducted by teenagers themselves. Find these journals on the Serials Gallery of Jordanhill Library.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Reading and gender / reading and role models

Here are a couple of useful papers from The National Literacy Trust, both published in April 2008:

Clark, Christina and Akerman, Rodie.
Being a reader: the relationship with gender.

Clark, Christina.
Britain's next top model: the impact of role models on literacy.

National Year of Reading - May's theme

May's NYR theme is 'mind and body'. The NYR has launched an online guide, Wikireadia, to develop good practice in reading. Whether you are working on a national reading project or a small project in your classroom or library, you can share your findings, successes and evidence on Wikireadia and help to build a community of reading professionals. It is for any organisation with an interest in raising reading standards, to learn from the experience of others or get inspiration.

Jordanhill Library's NYR May page is also now available. I have taken the mind and body theme and focused in on the example of healthy eating to demonstrate how books can get the message across in different ways with different age groups.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Skulduggery Pleasant wins prize

Derek Landy's novel Skulduggery Pleasant has won the North East Book Award, chosen by 150 students aged 11-13 from schools across the North East of England who read, reviewed and voted for their favourite book from a shortlist of six. This title is also one of Richard and Judy's children's book choices for 9+.

Plot: Stephanie's uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror, it certainly wasn't fiction. Pursued by evil forces intent on recovering a mysterious key, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source - the wisecracking skeleton of a dead wizard.

The book is stocked in Jordanhill Library at J 824 LAN.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

KidLit Forum

I've just come across KidLit Forum, set up to discuss all aspects of children's literature, both academic and general. There are tips on interesting websites, booklists, writing for children and many other topics.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Age-ranging of children's fiction

The vast majority of children's publishers, including Penguin, Scholastic and HarperCollins amongst others, have backed plans to introduce age guidance for children's books from this autumn. A black and white design will appear on the back of books, near the barcode, with one of the categories 5+, 7+, 9+, 11+ or 13+/teen. These categories indicate reading level interest rather than ability - for more details, see the article Age-ranging gets the thumbs up from the current edition of the Bookseller.

As a PS to this, it appears that many authors are not at all keen on the idea. See Age guidance prompts author rebellion, also from the Bookseller (3/6/08) and Classification dismissed (Guardian, 6/6/08). However, Publishers press on with age guidance (Bookseller, 4/6/08). Watch this space!

Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals

The Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards are administered by CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals). The Carnegie Medal is awarded by children's librarians for an outstanding book for children and young people. The Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded by children's librarians for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people. The shortlists for books published in 2007 have just been released, and the winners will be announced on 26th June. Also available is a shadowing site where groups, such as school classes, can join up to to read the shortlisted books, assess them by the same criteria used by the librarian judges, and share their views with other reading groups, e.g. by posting reviews on the website. Finally, the Living Archive celebrates and provides information about all past winners, including last year's favourite winners of all time as voted for by the public: Shirley Hughes' Dogger (Greenaway) and Philip Pullman's Northern Lights (Carnegie).

Saturday, 12 April 2008

The Word Pool

The Word Pool is a children's book site for parents, writers and teachers including reviews and information on choosing children's books, book lists on various topics, reluctant readers, numeracy, big books, writing for children and author profiles. It's a really useful resource, and you can also sign up for an email newsletter which keeps you up to date with additions to the site. Word Pool has two related sites, Contact an Author and UK Children's Books. The latter has a comprehensive list of links to the websites of authors, publishers and organisations.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz was one of the few authors to make it into the top 10 reading favourites in the survey quoted in my last post. His series about Alex Rider, teenage spy, catapulted him to international fame but still leaves him a long way behind Heat magazine! Read an interview with Horowitz published in yesterday's Glasgow Herald, see his own website for more information, or check out Jordanhill Library's holdings of his books.

National Year of Reading's April theme

2008 is the National Year of Reading. Each month from April has a theme, so I have started a site which I will update every month with an appropriate reading list.

April's theme is Read all about it - read anything and everything, anywhere and everywhere. This theme is reflected in Read up, fed up, a report from NYR based on a survey of 1340 children aged between 11 and 14 whose top ten reading choices included gossip magazines, online computer game cheats and blogs. The only books to appear were the Harry Potter series (5), Anne Frank's diary (6), books by Anthony Horowitz (8) and C S Lewis's The lion, the witch and the wardrobe (9). The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph ran pieces about this, with the Telegraph also including a commentary from Anne Fine, author and former Children's Laureate. Anne's view is that schools are raising readers used to "bits" and "snippets", and cites fan letters from children who are studying the opening lines of her novels or her use of similes and metaphors. She likens this to knowing how to take a clock apart and put it back together without understanding the purpose of telling the time, and feels that if parents want their children to read for enjoyment they should lead by example and pick up a book themselves.

Friday, 28 March 2008

The Horn Book

The Horn Book Magazine is an American publication about books for children and young adults. The current edition (March / April 2008) has a running theme throughout where authors write brief articles about their relationships with their editors. Major articles include a consideration of what makes a good alphabet book by Lolly Robinson and an appreciation of the new (British) Children's Laureate, Michael Rosen, by Madelyn Travis.

The Horn Book also has a website where you can access some of the magazine's content, read the editor's blog, sign up for a monthly newsletter or subscribe to their podcast.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Sonya Hartnett wins Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

Astrid Lindgren, author of the Pippi Longstocking books, was Sweden’s favourite author and one of the world’s most popular. She died in 2002 at the age of 94, and to honour her memory and promote children’s and youth literature around the world, the Swedish government founded an international prize in her name. It is the world’s largest for children’s and youth literature, and the second-largest literature prize in the world.

The winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2008 is Australian author, Sonya Hartnett. The judges said of her:
"Sonya Hartnett is one of the major forces for renewal in modern young adult fiction. With psychological depth and a concealed yet palpable anger, she depicts the circumstances of young people without avoiding the darker sides of life. She does so with linguistic virtuosity and a brilliant narrative technique; her works are a source of strength.”

Check the Jordanhill Library catalogue for titles by Sonya Hartnett.

Books or TV? Children's preferences surveyed

Watching television has become a less popular pastime with 9-11 year-olds in the last four years. It's still more popular than reading books, but only 55% preferred watching TV to reading in 2007 as opposed to 62% in 2003. Encouragingly, nearly 70% of 9 year-olds and 60% of 11 year-olds said they enjoyed reading stories. For full details, see the survey by the National Foundation for Educational Research or, for a summary, see the coverage in the Independent.

Friday, 7 March 2008 features Mairi Hedderwick is a commercial site, but it showcases Scottish-interest books by combining bookselling with interesting, newsy content. This month, they have started a new feature celebrating Scottish books which have become international successes. The first to be featured are Mairi Hedderwick's Katie Morag stories. As well as information about the books, the site features the island of Coll which was the inspiration for Struay, Katie Morag's home.

Friday, 29 February 2008

Forthcoming book promotions

Next week sees World Book Day (Thursday 6th March) and, here in Glasgow, the Aye Write Book Festival, including children's and schools' events, starts on the 8th. It's also not long till the start of the National Year of Reading in April - to celebrate this, the National Literacy Trust's Reading Connects has produced a set of case studies to share good practice in promoting reading in schools.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Top 10 children's books

C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, first published in 1950, has been voted the favourite children's book of all time. The charity Booktrust conducted a survey of 4000 people between the ages of 16 and 65 to come up with its list, and nearly all of them are, like Lewis's book, classics. J K Rowling makes it in at number 6 with Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince (2005) and Julia Donaldson's Gruffalo (1999) is at number 10, but the rest of the Top 10 were published between 1865 (Alice in Wonderland) and 1969 (The Very Hungry Caterpillar). One reason for this could be that these books have had time to filter through the generations, with many of the older people who voted now reading them to their childen or grandchildren - the survey also found that four in five parents read their children bedtime stories every night.

The Times and The Telegraph both covered this story last week, with the Telegraph listing the Top 50 in full.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Most borrowed children's authors

After a four year reign as the most borrowed author in the UK's public libraries, Jacqueline Wilson has been beaten into second place by the US thriller writer, James Patterson, according to figures for 2006-7 just released by Public Lending Right. Overall, 30% of all books borrowed were children's, young adult and educational titles and half of the top 20 authors are children's writers. They are:

Jacqueline Wilson (2); Daisy Meadows (3); Mick Inkpen (8); Janet & Allan Ahlberg (9); Francesca Simon (10); Roald Dahl (11); Enid Blyton (13); Ian Whybrow (15); Eric Hill (17); Julia Donaldson (20).

Roald Dahl tops the list of Most Borrowed Classic Authors, which also includes Enid Blyton (2); Beatrix Potter (5); C S Lewis (9) and A A Milne (12).

See our library reading list for more about Jacqueline Wilson's books.

Scottish Information Literacy Project

A recent press release from The Scottish Information Literacy Project announced that Learning and Teaching Scotland has provided funding to undertake a project entitled: Adding value to LTS Information Literacy Online Service: Exemplars of good practice.

The results will provide school teachers with an identified standard of information literacy skills and contribute to the development of information literacy and media literacy skills among school pupils.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Young people's self-perceptions as readers

New research based on a survey of pupils in 29 primary and secondary schools in England has been released by the National Literacy Trust. It reveals that the majority of children (71%) enjoy reading and rate themselves as proficient readers, but many are more likely to read magazines, websites and emails than fiction. The report, Young People's Self-Perceptions as Readers, suggests that emphasis needs to be placed on a broader range of reading materials, including new media, in order to engage more young people with reading.
Read more, with links to the report and an article on it's findings.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Library Research: Children & Young People

Library Research: Children & Young People - this blog summarises recent research reports and articles. Don't be put off by the word "library" - the content is quite broad and includes much to interest student teachers, e.g. postings on information literacy and out of school activities.

New book lists

Our website has a small selection of children's fiction book lists, based on our stock and arranged by author or theme. Some recent additions and updates are:

The Holocaust: This list is updated every year in time for Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January. It also includes some non-fiction, e.g. books about Anne Frank, and a brief list of relevant websites.

Recent children's book awards: Not a comprehensive listing, I update this about twice a year with the prize-winning books we've added to stock.

Richard and Judy: This influential bookclub now includes choices for children in four age ranges - 5+, 7+, 9+ and 12+. All the titles are in Jordanhill Library.

You can actually make up your own book list from our catalogue quite easily, using the theme index. For example, do you need a story to go with your project on bullying? Do you want to find stories set in Scotland? Browse the theme index to find these and hundreds of other subjects in our children's picture book, novel, short stories and poetry collections.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Children's Literature in Education

An index to articles in the December 2007 issue of Children's Literature in Education. Find it on the Serials gallery at S824.


Ngoshi, H. & Pasi, J. (2007). Mediating HIV / AIDS strategies in children’s literature in Zimbabwe. Children’s Literature in Education, 38(4), pp. 243-251.


Chappell, S. & Faltis, C. (2007). Spanglish, bilingualism, culture and identity in Latino children’s literature. Children’s Literature in Education, 38(4), pp. 253-262.


Pantaleo, S. (2007). Scieszka’s The stinky cheese man: a tossed salad of parodic re-versions. Children’s Literature in Education, 38(4), pp. 277-295.


Adams, R. & Rabkin, E. (2007). Psyche and society in Sendak’s In the night kitchen. Children’s Literature in Education, 38(4), pp. 233-241.


Lewis, D. (2007). A conversation with Posy Simmonds. Children’s Literature in Education, 38(4), pp. 263-275.

Teen Titles

Teen Titles is a bright, lively magazine with reviews and interviews written by teenagers for teenagers. It's published by City of Edinburgh Council and the latest edition is its 40th, or ruby, issue. To celebrate, there is a "Find the Hidden Ruby" competition and a Teen Titles 40 quiz, both with prizes, while other highlights include interviews with authors James Jauncey and Marcus Sedgwick. The magazine is filed in our Serials section at 011.62.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Seven Stories

Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books, is the only exhibition space in the UK dedicated to the celebration of British children's literature. It's in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and well worth a vist if you are ever in that area, as I was last autumn. The main exhibition was "We're going on a bear hunt - picture book adventures", in which ten titles were recreated, almost as stage sets. You could actually step into the room with the Large family from Jill Murphy's Five Minutes' Peace, or go on the titular bear hunt with Michael Rosen. Coming up next month is an exhibition based round Francesca Simon's Horrid Henry books which should prove equally fascinating.

The Centre also has an academic purpose, maintaining an extensive collection of artwork and archives from leading authors and illustrators, such as Philip Pullman and Shirley Hughes, which shows the creative process behind children's books. In November 2007, the Collection webpages were launched - click on the link above, then choose the Collection tab on the home page. This gives access to a catalogue of holdings, sometimes with images of the item, detailed biographical information about the authors, a section on hilghlights of the Collection and an interactive game, Browser's Quest. Happy hunting!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Books for Keeps

The January 2008 edition of Books for Keeps has hit the library bookshelves. We subscribe to this bi-monthly journal, but you can also read a lot of the content online. It's full of reviews, interesting articles and regular features such as the "Authorgraph", an interview with a leading children's author or illustrator. Here are the highlights from this edition:


Barnes, C. (2008). Authorgraph no 168 : Sally Grindlay. Books for Keeps, 168, pp. 12-13.


Maile, S. (2008). Reading in the middle years (9-11) : texts and choices : reading non-fiction in the middle years. Books for Keeps, 168, pp. 6-7.


Horn, C. (2008). Ethical book production. Books for Keeps, 168, pp. 3-5.
Are children’s publishers green?


Philip, N. (2008). Why do we really tell stories? Books for Keeps, 168, pp. 10-11.
Is plot really the essence of storytelling?


Cremin, T., Bearne, E., Goodwin, P., & Mottram, M. (2008). Teachers as readers. Books for Keeps, 168, pp. 8-9.
How much do teachers know about children’s literature? A survey by UKLA Children’s Literature Special Interest Group.


Alderson, B. (2008). Classics in short no 67 : “That brave company of shadows” surrounding A traveller in time. Books for Keeps, 168, p. 28.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Children's Literature Internet Sites

Another feature of our webpages is a list of good children's literature internet sites. I have added a couple of new ones this week:

Children's Books Online. This is the website for the Rosetta project, which describes itself as "the largest collection of illustrated antique books online...we think". You could lose yourself for hours reading these beautifully illustrated books, in categories from pre-reader to adult, some of which have audio files attached so that you can listen to the text too.

Spinebreakers. A teenage site from Penguin Books, this is for "story-surfing, web-exploring, word-loving, day-dreaming, readers/writers/thinkers aged 13-18". It features reviews, competitions, author interviews, alternate scenes and poems. It's contemporary and lively and actively encourages participation.

These two sites are a real contrast to each other, and this underlines one of the drawbacks to our list - it's long and undifferentiated. I'd like to split it up more into categories - the poetry page was a start - but haven't got very far. Watch this space!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Reluctant Readers

I have recently updated our page for reluctant readers. Here, you can find suggestions for engaging the interest of those who can't or won't read, including graphic novels, talking books and storysacks, plus a brief list of links to other sites. The Reluctant Readers page can also be collected as a leaflet from the display area of the Jordanhill Library Children's section.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Children's Literature Update

Every term I produce a booklet called Children's Literature Update, a subject index to relevant articles in journals the Library subscribes to, plus some newspaper articles. Eventually, we hope to have the index available as a searchable database on our webpages, but for now it is available for collection from the display area of the children's section in the Library and I will keep a log of new articles here.

Last term's index went out just before Christmas, and I have started collecting material for the new one. Since coming back to work after the New Year I have gathered together the cuttings I collected in December, which are:


Kellaway, K. (2007, December 23). Mother superior: as her best loved books are republished, children’s writer and illustrator Sarah Garland talks about the joy of drawing messy families. Observer Review, p. 22.
Cuttings file no. 1145.


Frean, A. (2007, December 7). Ofsted wields its vorpal sword at Jabberwocky approach to poetry. Times, p. 3.
Cuttings file no. 1142.

Meikle, J. (2007, December 7). School poetry teaching too limited, Ofsted says. Guardian, p. 7.
Cuttings file no. 1143.

Paton, G. and Reynolds, N. (2007, December 7). Classic poems “losing out to nonsense verse”. Telegraph, p. 13.
Cuttings file no. 1144.


Stokes, P. (2007, December 3). Dolly Parton: rhinestone, reading and Rotherham. Telegraph, p. 3.
Cuttings file no. 1141.
Parton launches the UK version of her Imagination Library in South Yorkshire.

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