Thursday, 27 May 2010

New journal articles

The latest editions of Books for Keeps and Youth Library Review have arrived. They're both jam-packed with interesting articles - find them on the gallery upstairs. Here's an index:

PUTTING disabled children in the picture. (2010). Youth Library Review, 40, pp. 10-11.
Giving disabled children role models in literature.

Whitney, N. (2010). Winds of change and the emergence to the m-generation: moving from books, via the web, to apps. Youth Library Review, 40, pp. 6-9.

Eccleshare, J. (2010). Authorgrapgh no 182: Mary Hooper. Books for Keeps, 182, pp. 12-13.

Wyatt, B. (2010). Illustrators and public lending right. Youth Library Review, 40, pp. 18-19.

Mynott, D. (2010). Stories from the web. Youth Library Review, 40, pp.16-17.
A reader development site for children and young people:

MEYER, Stephanie
Tucker, N. (2010). Once bitten: the fang bang fiction of Stephanie Meyer. Books for Keeps, 182, pp. 4-5.

Styles, M. (2010). Ten of the best poetry books for children. Books for Keeps, 182, pp. 6-7.

Browne, A. (2010). Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne on appreciating picture books. Books for Keeps, 182, p. 8.
Evans, J. (2010). Picturebooks are for everyone: children’s thoughts about reading picturebooks. Youth Library Review, 40, pp. 1-5.

Barnes, C. (2010). The catcher in the rye. Books for Keeps, 182, p. 11.
How did J D Salinger’s pioneering creation influence later teen fiction?

Alderson, B. (2010). Classics in short no 81: The sword in the stone. Books for Keeps, 182, p. 32.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Writing & illustrating for children: National Galleries of Scotland.

This exhibition features the work of Catherine Rayner and James Mayhew and runs at the National Galleries of Scotland until 4th June. James Mayhew is famous for his Katie and Ella Bella books, and Catherine Rayner, creator of Augustus the Tiger and Harris the Hare, won the Greenaway Medal last year. Two new exciting trails for children and families have also been created to complement the exhibition and there's an art competition, which you can access from the exhibition site, which runs until 10th July. If you take children to the galleries, they might also be interested in the exhibition on Dance - or at leat part of it. When we were there yesterday, small children were queuing up to press the button on Jean Tinguely's Blind jealousy II a bead curtain which moves like a Hawaiian dancer's grass skirt when the motor is switched on.

Carnegie review: The Ask and the Answer

Patrick Ness has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2010 for his teenage novel, The Ask and the Answer. This is his fourth book: the first two were for adults, and this one is the middle volume of his Chaos Walking trilogy which began with The Knife of Never Letting Go. That title was also nominated for the Carnegie Medal and won the 2008 Guardian Children's Fiction prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize and the James Tiptree Jr Award, so Ness comes with a good track record.

It's quite hard to review The Ask and the Answer without giving away too much of the plot of the first novel for those who haven't read it yet. A quick summary - Todd lives in Prentisstown, which he believes to be the only remaining settlement on the New World. It seems that on arrival on this planet, sickness killed all the women and all the men found their thoughts, their Noise, could be heard by everyone - making a man "chaos walking", as in the trilogy title. However, Todd is shocked to discover a pool of silence which, he is even more shocked to find, surrounds a girl! He and Viola are soon fleeing for their lives and, as they travel, Todd begins to discover that everything he thought was true was a lie. I read many parts of this book with my hand to my mouth in fear, so tense was the writing.

The Ask and the Answer is equally exciting. I find it amazing that although several people had read the first book, I am the first to have borrowed this one - I just couldn't wait to find out what happened next! Todd and Viola have walked into a trap set by their worst enemy, and for much of the book they are kept apart with alternate sections of the narrative told in each of their voices. Todd is forced to serve the Mayor, an example of power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely, while Viola finds herself amongst the Answer, a terrorist organisation run by women. But are they any better than the Mayor and his cruel army? Although they have seemingly ended up on opposing sides, Todd and Viola never lose faith in one another and eventually they are able to come together to fight for what they believe is right. Whether they win or not is a matter for the final part of the trilogy.

This is gripping writing which can be taken at face value as an adventure story or used to ask deeper, moral questions on the nature of power, whether war or terrorism can ever be justified, the meaning of privacy and the role of women in society. Todd and Viola are both strong characters with a strong sense of justice but even they find it hard to stick to their principles in the face of violence and corruption. Minor characters are equally well drawn, such as the Mayor's weak son, Davy, who grows under Todd's influence from being a swaggering bully to at least a kind of redemption at the end. Even the animals have character - they too have Noise on New World, and Ness uses this to express exactly the nature of an excitable little dog (Manchee in book one) and an affectionate, nervous horse (Angharrad in book two). The way Todd interacts with these creatures also tells us a lot about his personality.

What happens next? You will need to read book three, Monsters of Men. You can find more information about it in previous posts about Patrick Ness, on CMIS Fiction Focus and the Ultimate Book Guide, which also has an interview with him.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Puffin at 70

You've probably seen the publicity about Puffin's 70th birthday. To celebrate, Puffin has produced a list of the 70 favourite childrens' books it has published. Several papers have joined in eg The Bookseller and The Independent. The Guardian has an article including the full list as well as a gallery of its own favourites and an article about Kaye Webb, probably the most famous Puffin editor and the one who set up the Puffin Club. The Archives Hub is also featuring Kaye Webb at the moment.

PS June 10 - another article added, from the Independent.

I second that emotion....

Our children’s booklists page has a new addition on emotions. This selection of picture books for young children (P1-P3) is a great starting point for stimulating discussion in P.S.D and Circle Time lessons. It covers both general books and titles on specific feelings such as anger, happiness etc. It was prepared by Cherry Riddell who volunteers with us, but is also a serving teacher so knows what she is talking about!

PS the title is from a 1967 Smokey Robinson & the Miracles song. Wikipedia tells you about it if don't know it, it's a great song.

LibrayThing - new books display

I have now started a LibraryThing page for new children’s books added to the library. Titles will be updated every time the new books display in the children’s section on the first floor of the library is changed. After experimenting with separate lists for each category and adding reviews I discovered this was too time-consuming, so have settled for a single list but with categories in the tags column. These categories are picture books, children’s fiction (with rough age guide), teenage fiction and children’s non-fiction. (There will also be a poetry tag but there weren’t any new poetry books this time.) A preview of the covers is below.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

2 Greenaway Reviews

We will be reviewing all the Carnegie and Greenaway titles over the next few weeks. To start with, Cherry Riddell reviews two of the Greenaway titles. Cherry volunteers in this library one day a week and is also a serving teacher, so her views are particularly useful for teaching students.

The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded for outstanding and original illustrations in children’s literature. The titles below are both in stock at Jordanhill Campus Library.

Riddell, Chris. (text by Neil Gaiman). (2008). The Graveyard Book. Bloomsbury.

Nobody Owens – nicknamed Bod – is a perfectly normal boy except for one thing – he lives in a graveyard and is looked after by ghosts. Danger and adventure lurk everywhere for Bod in the ghoulish graveyard and in one place in particular: The Land of the Living, where Bod’s parents were killed by the frightening and mysterious Jack. Twists and creepy turns make for an exciting and spine tingling adventure story for children age 9 and up.
Chris Riddell’s ghoulishly detailed illustrations of the main characters such as Jack, Eliza and Bod bring this story to life in a vivid way. The illustrations are drawn in black and white which is fitting to the macabre tone of the story.
Children will have fun finding out if the description of the character in their imagination matches that of the ones found in the book. Perhaps in class children could draw their own illustrations and compare them to Chris Riddell’s, thus encouraging pupils imagination and prediction skills.

Schwarz, Viviane. (2008). There Are Cats In This Book. Walker.

There are cats in this book – Tiny, Moonpie and Andre – who love nothing better than to chase wool, hide in boxes and chase fish. They are waiting to play with the reader through lift up flaps and hidden pictures. Aimed at young children, P1-2 level, this lovely book attracts attention straight away just by picking it up, due to the cleverly hidden cats on the title page.
Simply but expressively illustrated, this book will capture a young child’s attention and delight by its clever use of not so obvious flaps and hidden pictures. Children will have great fun with this book, reading on their own or with the whole class.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

New(ish) author links

Eoin Colfer BBC video on writing fantasy for children

Anthony McGowan interviewed by Bookbag

Lois Lowry interviewed by

Patrick Ness Chaos Walking trailer on YouTube