Saturday, 28 September 2013

Posts of the week 2

Phew, made it to the second week of Friday roundups! Except that it's Saturday - oh well, near enough. A lot caught my eye in the past seven days, so here they are in the order I spotted them.

Black History Month is coming up in October. You might find useful titles scattered through Strathclyde University's Children's Booklists page - see the lists on Diversity, Global Citizenship, Refugees and Slavery.

Lizzy Ratner asks in The Nation "What are children's books for?" She's inspired by an exhibition at New York Public Library on the history of children's books. It runs till March 2014, but I don't think I can contrive to be in New York before then, wonderful though that would be.

Malorie Blackman's piece in the Guardian on the value of libraries has been widely circulated on social media so you might have seen it. Libraries' huge contribution to children's literacy is threatened by swingeing cuts across the country. "Where is the outrage?" she asks.

Vivienne Smith at Reading Fictions pays tribute to Margaret Mahy (1936-2011) with particular reference to a title I heartily approve of, The Librarian and the Robbers, concluding "If you aspire to a life full of unexpected exploits and all things delightful, become a reader! Treasure awaits us all on the shelves of the library." Hear, hear!

I've discovered that Seven Stories now has an online Enid Blyton exhibition, with one on Judith Kerr coming soon. For those of us who can't get to Newcastle to see their exhibitions live, this is a great new idea.

I've added Rhino Reads to my RSS feed of useful blogs to follow. It was the post I've linked to on gender non-specific characters that I first noticed, but it all looks worth a read if you are interested in picture books.

UKLA (UK Literacy Association) has announced its 2014 children's book awards longlists - for ages 3-6, 7-11 and 12-16+. The winners will be announced in July.

A bit of fluff to finish with. Regular readers will know of my love for Anne of Green Gables. Green Wedding Shoes offers an Anne of Green Gables Wedding Inspiration (posed) with "Anne" and "Gilbert" looking divine. So if you're a red-haired woman thinking of getting married it could be just the thing for you.

That's the end of this week's Children's Literature Roundup. No extra charge for the wedding advice.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Banned Books Week, 22-28 September

It's Banned Books Week - and it might surprise you to find out some of the many books that have been banned at one time or another. University of Strathclyde has a list of children's titles with explanations about when, where and why they fell foul of censors. It's divided into Young upstarts and Teen trouble and contentious kids. There's also a section on Controversial classics (adult books which are taught in secondary schools) and suggestions for further reading. Before you look at it, here's a book from each section. Try to guess why each one was banned!


Friday, 20 September 2013

Posts of the week

This is a hostage to fortune, but I thought I would start a weekly feature of blog posts that have caught my eye over the past seven days. If I'm absent next Friday, then you know that was a very bad idea! In no particular order, here is this week's selection.

Elaine Aldred is a Doctoral student in Education at the University of Nottingham. Her blog, Strange Alliances, aims "to explore all different kinds of writing and storytelling, through examining the craft of writing." The post that interested me was Gez Walsh. A style all of his own. Gez, a former social worker, first started writing when he was trying to get his dyslexic son to read and felt the available books were too boring. They started writing a poem together and things took off from there - it resulted in his first book, The spot on my bum. Now, he says "I devote my whole life to working with children. I work with kids that nobody else wants to work with. I’ve also written some books for their parents too, because you got vicious cycle of having parents who can barely read who won’t buy a book for a child because they don’t put any value in it." Worth checking out.

Over at Book Riot, Kelly Jensen writes about Books for boys and books for girls: problems with gendered reading and concludes "The more we expose young readers to the wide variety of reading possibilities, the wide variety of how books look and feel and grow in our hands and minds, the more positive steps we take in combating gendered reading. Maybe while we’re at it, we also stop writing about “books for boys” and “books for girls.” Books are for readers." Do you agree?

I've added The Cambridge Children's Literature Students' Blog to my "Favourite blogs" page. It's written by graduate students at the Cambridge-Homerton Research and Teaching Centre for Children's Literature - in their latest posts, they tell of their exploits at a Picture-book Conference in Stockholm. Lucky them!

We love this book's newsletter pops into my inbox every Friday. One of the articles they are highlighting today is Hating the happily-ever-after, an examination by Holly Bourne of romantic clich├ęs in teenage novels. Have fun thinking of books to match each category!

Last, but not least, Scottish Book Trust has an interview with Lynne Rickards in its Spotlight On feature today. In it, Lynne talks about her influences, her writing and her work as a Writer-in-Residence in Methil in Fife where she has been collaborating with a group of women to produce a picture-book on healthy eating. We also find out that Lynne likes dark chocolate, fresh fruit and crunchy organic carrots - two out of three for healthy eating Lynne, two out of three!

PS I would go for the dark chocolate myself, preferably washed down with a nice glass of red. Speaking of which, wine-o'clock is not far away so time to finish this post and start thinking about dinner.