Monday, 18 March 2013

Pppppick up a Peril, or in Pink!

Winning books through social media or email draws seems to be quite a talent of mine - I read them, then pass them on to the library, where staff say my record is about one per month.

A couple of weeks ago, Penguin in peril, a picture book by Helen Hancocks, popped through my letter box. It's great fun - the story of three hungry cats who steal a penguin to catch fish for them. Understandably, the penguin is not happy and makes a run for it, hoping to get back home to the zoo. Along the way, he manages to hide in amongst other black and white figures: waiters, nuns and men in bowler hats. As you can possibly tell from that list, it's quite retro in style, and it's also quite French - the policeman at the end is definitely a gendarme. The illustrations remind me a bit of the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmens - borrow them both and see what you think. Thanks to the publishers, Templar, who supplied the book via a Youth Libraries Group draw. Neither obliged me to write a review.

Another picture book about penguins is Pink!, by Glasgow-based author Lynne Rickards, which has important messages about being different and accepting yourself the way you are. It has just been made into a musical, and Patrick the pink penguin will soon be touring Scottish schools. See pictures on Facebook and check Hopscotch Theatre Company for dates and prices.

PS Update - Lynne herself has done a lovely blogpost on the musical with great photos.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Carnegie / Greenaway - how were our predictions?

A few months ago, Gordana's guest post described a nomination event she attended for the Carnegie / Greenaway Awards. The shortlists have just been announced, so how did she do? Really well for The Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration - of the five books she singled out for mention, three made it on to the list: Again! by Emily Gravett, I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen and Black Dog by Levi Pinfold. She was less successful with the Carnegie Medal for writing, predicting only The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan.

Whoever wins the Carnegie will be a first-timer, and if it's Roddy Doyle (nominated for A Greyhound of a Girl) he will be only the second author (Penelope Lively being the other) to win both the Carnegie for a children's book and the Booker, for an adult novel. There is also history-making potential in the Greenaway with both Gravett and Helen Oxenbury (King Jack and the Dragon) in line for an unprecedented third win.

For more information, see CILIP's press release, the article in Books for Keeps and The Bookbag's Carnegie reviews.

Carnegie shortlist


Greenaway shortlist

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Scottish Children's Book Awards - and other World Book Day news

It's World Book Day today, an entirely appropriate time for the winners of the Scottish Children's Book Awards (SCBA) to be announced. And here they are, left to right:

Jonathan Meres - Winner for 8-11s for  The world of Norm: may contain nuts

John Fardell - Winner for 3-7s for The day Louis got eaten

Barry Hutchison - Winner for 12-16s for The 13th horseman

Congratulations to all - STV Edinburgh has been quick off the mark with an interview with Jonathan and John.

It's also the day for the Blue Peter Book Awards - an embarrassment of riches. They'll be announced later today on a special edition of the programme.

Other recent prizes that you might want to check out are the Red House Children's Book Awards and the Cybils. The former is the only national book award voted for entirely by children; the latter is the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Award. Jacqueline Wilson and John Burningham have both been nominated by IBBY UK (International Board on Books for Young People) for Hans Christian Andersen Awards 2014.

More snippets:

As well as news about SCBA, the most recent Scottish Book Trust newsletter has information about new resources on Coraline, a forthcoming Authors Live event with Polly Dunbar and a new range of CPD opportunities for librarians and teachers on reading for pleasure and creative literacy.

The National Library also has a new information literacy resource, Project Blaster, featuring six fun and informative videos narrated by popular children's author Allan Burnett. Project Blaster has been specifically designed to meet Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence aims and objectives.

The Harriet Branford Writing Competition is now open to children and young people under 19. Entrants should write a story of up to 1500 words following on from a starting paragraph by Annabel Pitcher. The closing date is 26th April.

Cool not Cute! is a new(ish) website dedicated to starting a debate on gender bias in picture books. Do you agree that "the output of the picture book industry reflects girls' tastes far more than it does boys' and that this bias is exacerbating the gender gap between boys' and girls' reading abilities"? Yes or no, head over to the site to join the discussion.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Competent at peever: Liz Lochhead at Scotland Street

I loved this exhibition at Scotland Street School Museum! Competent at peever is the result of Liz Lochhead's year-long residency at Scotland Street and comprises poems, drawings and collages on the themes of childhood and primary school. This would be a great exhibition to take children to - while I was there, several classes passed through, all very well behaved. Student teachers would also appreciate it - I bought a collection of poetry, but even the booklet which accompanies the exhibition reproduces several of the poems and could be used in the classroom.

The highlight for me was Liz's art school project from 1968 in which she went back to her old school - it brought back so many memories since that was the year I finished primary. Not all pleasant unfortunately - I enjoyed learning "sums" with the cuisenaire rods she illustrated, and there's a real set to look at elsewhere in the museum (and also in Strathclyde University's Education Resource Centre), but my headmaster was not as benevolent as Mr Ritchie of Newarthill, and I still smart with humiliation from an undeserved punishment. You could have an interesting discussion about teaching methods then and now just based on that section.

If you're in Glasgow, hop, skip and jump over to this exhibition as soon as you can! It's on till 7th April. If you're not a Scot and you don't know what peever is, that last sentence should give you a clue - or read Poem for my sister: "I like to watch my little sister playing hopscotch.........She is competent at peever."

For more photographs of the exhibition, see my travel blog.