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.

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