Thursday, 23 December 2010

Why Patrick Ness is better than Tom Cruise and other miscellany

Well, the snow and the end of term have got in the way of blogging for quite some time, so here are some of the items I'd been meaning to write about all thrown together in an end of year pot pourri. No particular order, but I've put Patrick Ness first because I liked the headline!

Why Patrick Ness is better than Tom Cruise comes from those nice people at Scottish Book Trust who recently took Ness on tour around Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire. Alison, the librarian from Clydebank High School, posted on their blog to talk about the effect of Patrick Ness on her pupils. There's also a video from the tour.

Still with Scottish Book Trust, did you know about their Teachers' Online Bookgroups? There's one each for books for primary and secondary age children, and one for professional development. Each has downloadable material to go with the texts, e.g. for Choke Chain by Jason Donald (a book for secondary children) there are teachers' notes, an interview with the author and a podcast of him reading an extract from the book.

Picture books do still work for kids - an article in October in the New York Times suggested that picture books were no longer a staple as parents tried to push their children towards "chapter books". This has promted responses from both CBS News and Publisher's Weekly - don't write the obit for picture books yet, they say. Certainly not in this Library, where they remain very popular.

Enid Blyton falls out of children's favour is an article in the Telegraph which relates that Blyton has fallen out of the top ten list of children's authors for the first time in decades because youngsters cannot relate to her language. Hmm, we don't stock her anyway because we don't consider her good enough quality (though I read them all when I was growing up and I turned into a librarian, so they can't be that bad!)

If you want quality, Julia Donaldson is a safe bet. An article in the Guardian's Books Blog praises Stick Man as a potential Christmas classic.

Looking for fiction for 10-14s? Look no further than the Literacy Adviser (Bill Boyd, latterly of Learning and Teaching Scotland) - and happily, most of the recommended titles on his long list are in stock here. The rest of the site is worth a look too. I now subscribe to his blog, and after the New Year I hope to create a Blogroll of this and others that I consult regularly.

Another good blog to follow for children's and teenage fiction is Tall Tales & Short Stories. For example, here's an interview with Keith Charters and Graham Watson of Strident Publishing - a Scottish publisher based in East Kilbride, many of whose books we have in our catalogue.

David Almond is a popular, and award-winning, author whose My Dad's a Birdman is now a play - Observer review here. Skellig, of course, was made into a film and we have both book and DVD in stock.

If you like Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Darkness series you might want to listen to her reading from the 6th and final title, Ghost hunter, in a Guardian podcast.

Books for Keeps has started a film-review section. Guess what the first review is? Harry Potter of course!

And finally - the "Books of the year" lists have started coming out. Here are 32 gathered together (not all children's) by SCC English blog and an international collection (all children's) from Chicken Spaghetti.

Season's greetings to everyone. See you in 2011!


  1. Thanks for the plug Anabel! A great post. Hadn't seen your blog before but I'll certainly look out for it in the new year.
    Best wishes

  2. Thanks Bill, just stumbled across yours too, can't remember how, possibly someone tweeted it. Will be following it in future anyway.