Thursday, 29 March 2012

The BFG is 30!

The BFG is 30 this year! To celebrate, Puffin is inviting you to ‘Dream Big with The BFG’ in order to win some ‘dream come true’ prizes.  The celebrations take place in September, and there will be packs and more details to follow. In the meantime you can download the flyer as illustrated to the left from the School Library Association. It gives details on how to register your school or library, after which you’ll receive updates and goodies. (Alternatively, the packs will be available to download from June on the Roald Dahl website.) There will be lesson plans, competitions, quizzes and games, and also a Dress-up Day to raise funds for Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity. Sounds like a lot of fun! We have a full range of Dahl's books in the Children's section at J 808.3 DAH.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Carnegie / Greenaway shortlists

The shortlists for these two awards have just been announced, and I'm pleased to say we have nearly all the books already, and will soon have the rest in stock. The Carnegie is for the writer of an outstanding children's book and this year's shortlist raises the prospect that the same author could win two years in a row. Patrick Ness won last year for Monsters of men and is nominated again for A monster calls. This has only happened once before since the award started in 1936 - Peter Dickinson won for Tulku in 1979 and City of Gold in 1980. Even more intriguing, A monster calls could win both medals because the illustrator, Jim Kay, is on the shortlist for the Greenaway which rewards distinguished illustration in a book for children. I've been right through the lists of previous winners and this has never happened before, so the book could make history if it wins twice.

There's also a shadowing site where you can read and post reviews, watch videos of the nominated authors etc, and one of this year's judges has blogged about the experience for Booktrust. Susan Elkin has blogged in the Independent, which is fine if you can fogive the spelling mistake in the heading, and Books for Keeps also has a piece online. No doubt there will be many more articles in the run-up to the awards being announced on 14th June.

PS 2 hours after posting this - already more from the Guardian. Greenaway in pictures and an article on Carnegie.

The slideshows below are of the shortlists - the Carnegie is the top one.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Learning to look after the environment.

We've certainly been working hard on our children's booklists page in the last couple of weeks. The latest list is on the environment. As environmental concerns become more prominent in the curriculum, the issue is featuring more and more in children’s fiction. We’ve collected together some of the best titles with environmental appeal. With themes of community spirit, mysteries and young heroes, such novels convey the environmental message in an enjoyable and engaging way. As with our other lists, there is something for all ages from picture books for younger children to teenage novels.Many thanks to my colleague Alison Kennedy for creating this list.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Learning about diversity and difference

Around 10% of the children living in Britain come from minority ethnic backgrounds, but it can be difficult to find children’s books that represent the diversity of our society. Stories which feature characters from a variety of ethnic backgrounds are valuable, both in racially diverse classrooms and in schools where the majority of children are white, as all children should be able to find books they can personally identify with, while a diverse offering helps to foster cultural empathy. Diversity and difference: multicultural books for a multicultural society is the latest addition to our booklists for children. It's the last in a series which also comprises:

Stories which include characters with disabilities in a matter of fact way can help your class accept difference and understand diversity.

Stories which include LGBT characters can promote understanding and reduce lesbian, gay and transgender related bullying.

All three lists cover a range from picture books to teen fiction. I'm grateful to my colleagues Alison Forde, for creating the multicultural and LGBT lists, and Sarah Scott for the disability list. Paper copies are availalble in the display area upstairs in the library.

Friday, 16 March 2012

A sense of self - books for kids to learn about "me"

We've been working very hard recently updating our page of children's booklists, adding a few extra book titles to those already there, and creating some completely new lists. Two of these are aimed at helping children to identify and develop their sense of self. Thanks to my colleague Iain Riley for creating these.

All about me Many children want to know “All about me” and there are picture books to encourage the youngest children to explore their sense of self - the "Charlie and Lola" book shown, for example, in which Lola likes to think she’s independent. Big brother Charlie knows that being all on your own isn’t always much fun, but Lola has to work that out for herself. There are also poetry books for older children and, moving from the philosophical to the anatomical, a section on looking at the human body in novel ways.

Dear diary Get students to write about their own lives, perhaps in a diary format. This list has some books we hope will inspire them. For younger children, there are picture books such as Jackie French's  Diary of a wombat. The wombat sleeps, eats and scratches. She trains humans to be better pets. It's the diary of a wombat with attitude! For older children, the Jacqueline Wilson title shown is included. It's an exciting account of her teenage years, full of revealing diary extracts – perfect for her many thousands of fans.

Library staff hope you find these suggestions helpful - we are always interested to hear about titles we could add to these, or any of our lists, or suggestions for new themes we could cover. Just let us know!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Hunger Games

If you're interested in teenage fiction, in particular the dystopian kind, you can hardly fail to have noticed yesterday's premiere of the Hunger Games movie. See Yahoo! Movies for more information about the film and for details of when you can see it in Glasgow. There's a great review in Empire which gives it 4 out of 5 stars and says: "As thrilling and smart as it is terrifying. There have been a number of big-gun literary series brought to screen over the past decade. This slays them all." More locally, the Herald also gives it 4 stars and Literature for Lads gives it 9 out of 10.

I've written about the books, by Suzanne Collins, before here. If you want to read them, we have them to borrow - though you might have to wait for the first one. In the meantime, our booklist Survivor has a collection of other titles you might like. The film has produced a flurry of articles on why dystopian fiction seems to be so popular among teenagers at the moment, including Booktrust the Telegraph, the Literary PlatformSlate and We love this book . The Observer has also run a profile of Suzanne Collins, and some teachers are posting study guides here and here. The Guardian has a Hunger Games quiz, on which I only scored 3 out of 10 - oh the shame, I really need to read those books again!

If you see the film, let us know what you think in the comments.

NB this post has been updated with later material since first being published.