Friday, 27 April 2012

Leila Berg, Diana Wynne Jones and Shirley Hughes

Three long-established children's authors have been in the news lately. Sad to relate, Leila Berg has just died. I was aware of her as the instigator of the Nippers series, launched in 1968, which grew from her anger that the everyday lives of ordinary children were not represented in the books they were given to read at school. I didn't know about her wider work for children's rights - an excellent obituary from Rosemary Stones will tell you more. You can also see items from the Leila Berg archive via Seven Stories.

Diana Wynne Jones died a year ago. A blog has been set up to mark the anniversary, where fans can share their favourite books (mine is Fire and hemlock which I've read twice) and memories. Seven Stories also hosts the Diana Wynne Jones archive and cathy Butler has written an account of a recent memorial event.

Finally, Shirley Hughes who, thankfully, is still with us. Not only that, after decades spent writing and illustrating picture books she has written her first novel, Hero on a bicycle:
Italy, 1944: Florence is occupied by Nazi German forces. The Italian resistance movement has not given up hope of liberation, though ‒ and neither have thirteen-year-old Paolo and his elder sister, Constanza. Both are desperate to fight the occupation, but what can two siblings do against a whole army with only a bicycle to help them?
It's published on the 3rd of May and I've ordered it for the library.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

David Walliams online author event

Did you know that comedian David Walliams was also a children's author? He has written several books which you can borrow from the library. Even better, you can hear him talk about his latest, Gangsta Granny, on 10th May at 11am at one of the Authors Live events from Scottish Book Trust and the BBC. Watch live on your PC or, if a teacher, register your whole class (suitable for ages 8-12) to watch via SBT. If you miss it, you can watch again on the SBT site after 17th May.

Gangsta Granny tells the story of Ben who is bored staying with his grandmother. All she wants to do is play board games and eat cabbage soup. Then he discovers her past as an international jewel thief......tune in to find out more! Here's what David Walliams says about his wriitng and about the event:

“I tend to write books which I would like to read, and which make me laugh.  If you can get kids laughing and tell a good story, they’re much more likely to see reading as something which is a fun thing to do in their free time, and which is an enjoyable alternative to playing computer games or watching TV. It’s a fact that most children these days are pretty comfortable in front of a computer screen, so streaming me live into classrooms and people’s homes via the Scottish Book Trust’s Authors Live event is a great way to generate a real buzz around reading, and hopefully encourage even the most reluctant of readers to get stuck into a book.”

He's obviously very supportive of reading and listening, as well as being a brilliant entertainer, so this promises to be a fantastic event.