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.