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.