Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Scottish Book Trust Young Writer's Conference 2011

Budding writers from across Scotland are being offered a rare opportunity to access the expertise and knowledge of published writers and experts from within the industry.
Scottish Book Trust’s second annual Young Writers Conference will take place on 12th November and is open to all young people based in Scotland, aged between 14 and 17. Attendees will receive advice from some of the most exciting names in writing, including best-selling Skellig author David Almond, playwright Douglas Maxwell, teen author Gillian Philip, poet Elspeth Murray and literary agent Lindsey Fraser. If you know anyone who would like to take part, click on the link above for details and a booking form.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Books mean prizes

There are only a few days left to enter our own competition to win a book by David Almond (closing date Wednesday 28th). Here are some other competitons that your classes might be interested in:

Teen writing competition (S3-S4) on a theme of "freedom of expression".

Create a new cover for Lord of the Flies for 13-16 year olds, via The Guardian.

Anthologise: a national poetry anthology competition for secondary schools.

National Literacy Trust competition, The Comix Factor. This has sections for primary and secondary.

And did I mention our own competition? I did? Well, I'll mention it again anyway - win a book by David Almond, full details here.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Apologies - I know it's not even the end of September yet, but if you are going to teach about Halloween you should be looking out your resources now. Here's a list of material from our catalogue - it includes both factual books about Halloween and children's stories and picture books with a suitable theme, plus a few Media items. We've also put up a small display on the corner of the gallery between the Children's and Media collection, so please check it out.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Competition! Win a book by David Almond

David Almond

Staff at Scottish Book Trust have very kindly supplied us with a copy of Clay by David Almond as a prize in a competition we are running to promote their Meet our Authors event on 29th September. For more information, scroll to the bottom of this post, but first some information about David Almond and the event.

David Almond is the best-selling author of the award winning novel Skellig and many other titles (see the list in our catalogue). He was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1951 and grew up in the small mining town of Felling. After graduating he worked as a teacher for 5 years before stopping to concentrate on his writing. Skellig was published to immediate acclaim in 1998 and won both the Carnegie Medal (1998) and the Whitbread Children's Book Award (1998). In 2007, it was shortlisted for the Carnegie of Carnegies. His subsequent novels have gone on to win numerous awards including the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (Silver Award) for Kit's Wilderness and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and Whitbread Children's Book Award for Fire-Eaters. He was the recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2010.

On Thursday 29 September 2011 at 11am David will bring literature to life for children all across the country when he appears in a live internet broadcast. The event, and the Meet our Authors programme, is run by Scottish Book Trust and sponsored by Scottish Friendly Assurance. The programme is the first of its kind in the UK and anyone can watch here. (All the events in the series are also available to watch again later on the SBT website.) David will give tips on unlocking the potential of our imaginations on paper, including how his playful and messy approach to capturing great ideas has sustained his creative output during the writing of his 14 published books. He will talk about the writing process behind his latest books The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean and The Savage. These stories are suitable for young people aged 10+ and have a readership ranging from teens to adults, they capture powerful emotional themes and are accessible to a broad range of readers.

David Almond will be the 9th children’s author to take part in the Meet our Authors project which began in 2010. To date more than 380,000 children across the UK have taken part in the webcasts. The live events are funded by the National Lottery through the Creative Scotland Inspiring Communities Fund.

To enter our competition (Strathclyde University Library members only – Library staff not eligible) just answer the following simple question:

In 2010, David Almond published a prequel to Skellig which centred on the character of Mina. What was the book? (Hint: look up our catalogue.)

To make things a little trickier, your answer must be presented as a bibliographic reference in APA format. See our handout and webpage on APA rules. There are competition forms in the Library, drop them off in the box at the Lending Services Desk, or send your answer to, quoting your library barcode number.

The closing date is 28th September and the winner will be picked at random from the corrrect entries and notified on the 29th. Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Happy Roald Dahl Day

Today is Roald Dahl Day, celebrated every year on his birthday, so I've brought together a few sites for you to look at. The Guardian recently ran a poll to find the favourite Roald Dahl character, who turns out to be Charlie Bucket. Read the article and leave your own comments if you wish. The Roald Dahl Funny Prize shortlist has recently been announced and Glasgow Libraries have events going on until the 16th. The BBC also published an article on Roald Dahl yesterday - Roald Dahl and the darkness within. This seems to have caused a bit of controversy so you might want to add your comments to that too! Finally, and as always, if you want to read the books for yourself, come to the Library - there are loads of Dahls in our catalogue.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Guest review: White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick

This is a guest post by my colleague, Carol Cisman:
SEDGWICK, Marcus. (2010). White Crow. London: Orion Children's Books.
This is an eerie and chilling tale exploring themes of good against evil and trust within relationships whilst also asking the question : is there life after death? The story begins with the main character, Rebecca, arriving in the sleepy village of Winterfold following a scandal in her father's career which has forced them to seek temporary refuge there. She soon befriends a strange girl, Ferelith, who is both mysterious and intriguing with much to hide and, although they form a friendship of sorts, Rebecca doesn't fully trust her domineering nature and intentions. It isn't long before Rebecca finds herself in a terrifying situation with everything to lose. There are flashbacks in the story to the 18th Century with dialogue from the Rector of Winterfold describing terrible, dark deeds which took place there - the conclusion of which is made apparent at the twisting climax of the present day tale involving Rebecca and Ferelith. Although this is a horror story full of foreboding - I found it utterly thrilling and couldn't put it down! The author succeeds in creating atmosphere and drama which I believe older teenagers will find totally captivating.
If you would like to read this, or other books by Marcus Sedgwick, you will find a selection of his work in our catalogue.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Scottish Children's Book Awards 2011

The shortlist for these awards was announced yesterday by Scottish Book Trust (follow the link for more details - there are various activities connected with the awards that children can join in with). The short-listed books are listed below - we have them all except Zac and the dream pirates which I've now ordered, so get reading! The winner will be announced in February 2012.

Bookbug Readers (0-7 years)

- DEAR VAMPA by Ross Collins (Hodder)
- THE LOON ON THE MOON by Chae Strathie and Emily Golden (Scholastic)
- APPLE PIE ABC by Alison Murray (Orchard)

Younger Readers (8-11 years)

- ZAC AND THE DREAM PIRATES by Ross MacKenzie (Chicken House)
- THERE’S A HAMSTER IN MY POCKET! by Franzeska G Ewart (Frances Lincoln)

Older Readers (12-16 years)

- WASTED by Nicola Morgan (Walker)
- THE BLACKHOPE ENIGMA by Teresa Flavin (Templar)

Friday, 2 September 2011

Harry Potter and the 247 competition

Last month, I wrote about the Guardian's 247 competition and back in June about the vote to find the favourite Harry Potter character. The results of both were announced this week. The 247 competition challenged young writers to produce a story called The Guardian in exactly 247 words. The judges included Neil Gaiman, and you can read the winning entry and runners-up here, as well as linking back to the original story with which Neil launched the competition. The favourite Harry Potter character, as announced by Bloomsbury Books here, turned out to be Severus Snape. Is that who you would have chosen? Bloomsbury lists the entire top 40 and Harry himself was only 4th. The results have also been picked up by ITN and the Guardian, which has an interesting discussion at the end of its article with young readers writing in to agree or disagree with the choice.

We have all the Harry Potter books and films in our catalogue and a good selection of work by Neil Gaiman. For similar stories, if you've exhausted those, see our booklist on Magical and Fantasy Series for new ideas.