Carnegie/Kate Greenaway 2009

What a day to take off huh?! One of the largest awards in the UK gets announced - and where am I? Trying on sunglasses while it lashes rain outside… So, back to my point. It’s that time of year again - the shortlist time of year… Well it’s the Carnegie/Greenaway shortlist anyway.

And here they are:

CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist
Frank Cottrell Boyce, Cosmic (Macmillan)
Kevin Brooks, Black Rabbit Summer (Penguin)
Eoin Colfer, Airman (Puffin)
Siobhan Dowd, Bog Child (David Fickling)
Keith Gray, Ostrich Boys (Definitions)
Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go (Walker)
Kate Thompson, Creature of the Night (Bodley Head)

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal
Angela Barrett, The Snow Goose (text by Paul Gallico, Hutchinson)
Marc Craste, Varmints (text by Helen Ward, Templar)
Thomas Docherty, Little Boat (Templar)
Bob Graham, How to Heal a Broken Wing (Walker)
Oliver Jeffers, The Way Back Home (HarperCollins)
Dave McKean, The Savage (text by David Almond, Walker)
Catherine Rayner, Harris Finds His Feet (Little Tiger Press)
Chris Wormell, Molly and The Night Monster (Cape)

The VHC has already spotted the trends - namely that four of the books shortlisted also feature on the Bisto Book of The Year shortlist - Jeffers, Thompson, Colfer and Dowd. And Bookbrunch has some analysis of both the Carnegie and the Kate Greenaway. And after all of that - there isn’t much left for me to say really. I’m hugely impressed by the Carnegie shortlist - all of the books are potential winners. The Kate Greenaway is far more mixed - highlighting so many different types of illustration - and a hugely broad spectrum of talents. In short, I don’t envy the judges their decision.

Written by david. in: awards, childrens books | Tags: ,

Penultimate Monday balderdashing

Amidst the blistering sunshine and continued celebrations this weekend in Dublin the rest of the world continued to function - newspapers and all. And they all had lots to say…

Starting at home in the Irish Times, Robert Dunbar rounds up everything that is good and interesting for 10-12 year olds. Including some of my current favourites - Lazlo Strangolov’s Feather and Bone:Ghost Writing from the Underground and Skulduggery Pleasant:The Faceless Ones.

The humour throughout is darkest black, the style totally tongue-in-cheek and the whole concept hilarious: all very clever – but not for the squeamish or for anyone with an allergy to poultry or associated odours. - Robert Dunbar on Laszlo Strangolov.

While over in the Irish Independent Genevieve Roberts investigates the world of Manga - and keitai novels.

The speed of the mobile phone’s evolution from its distant cousin, the 1980s house brick, is ever-gathering pace, and it seems that its future is based around this new language of creative communication, rather than straightforward chat.

Amanda Craig in the Times UK reviews Sally Gardner’s The Sliver Blade - An enthralling and wholly original novel, The Silver Blade is a must-read for a new generation.

While in the Guardian Mal Peet gives Michael Grant’s Gone the once over…

Does it all work? Well, yes, in one respect at least. Gone comes across the Atlantic on a tsunami of rave reviews, most of them posted on websites by teenagers. That’s a result, and you really can’t argue with it. Grant left me wondering if it might be possible to marry the reductive conventions of the game console to real writing. Maybe the next volume (Gone threatens to become a trilogy, at least) will provide the glimpse of an answer. The volume two “taster” attached to this book suggests levels of nastiness almost worthy of Dante.

In the Independent UK Deborah Orr interviews John Bruningham ahead of his new book, It’s a Secret.

In the early Sixties there was this creative explosion, but artists have always had to find various ways of being employed, I suppose, and the early ones had to paint aristocracy or bishops or burghers or whatever it is … There must have been a great boom in stained glass, you know when all those Victorian churches were being built. That’s a long-winded way of saying it was sheer accident that I began working in children’s illustration.

Elsewhere in the papers -

Cambridge Wordfest gets previewed - Guardian
Abe Lincoln is getting the vampire treatment - Guardian
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are waiting - Times UK
Katy Guest wonders where everyone is getting book deals from - Independent UK
Euan Ferguson didn’t see Skellig, and he ‘aint happy about it - Guardian
Andrea Deakin’s newsletter is out - via Achockablog
John Boyne recommends some reading - John Boyne
Revewing the Google Settlement - Ivan O’Brien

Written by david. in: Reading, childrens books, linkage | Tags: , ,

Standards are slipping…

If I didn’t know any better I’d think that the standards around here are slipping… I managed to miss an epic feature in the Sunday Business Post on the realities of being a children’s writer. And epic is what it is - where else would you find The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Celia Kiernan, Aideen Brady, Siobhan Parkinson, Kate Thompson, Michael O’Brien, Sarah Webb and David O’Callaghan?

Maybe at a mad hatters tea party? But otherwise nowhere but the Sunday Business Post. Honest.

Written by david. in: childrens books, linkage | Tags: ,

Tuesday Egg-straviganza

I’m a little late with the paper reviews - yesterday was spent recuperating from a chocolate hangover the likes of which have never been seen. Hope ye all had an eggsellent weekend too.

Niall MacMonagle appeared in the Irish Times last weekend with a round up of teen fiction including Life Interrupted, Colony, Guantanamo Boy, Falling, Shadow Bringer and The Hunger Games.

Young readers often prefer crash-bang excitement but those quieter reading moments that heighten the emotional, psychological and spiritual prove vital on the teenage reading path.

Over at the Irish Independent - Declan Burke appears championing the crime writers battling it out in the Irish Book Awards.

The Observer gave way for an Easter book round-up - starting with Kate Kellaway looking at new books for readers 2 years and up. Stephanie Merritt took on readers 8-12 and Lisa O’Kelly read some great new titles for 12-16 year olds, including Julia Donaldson’s Running on the Cracks.

Nicolette Jones in the Times UK reviews the The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales while Amanda Craig reviews Helen Grant’s The Vanishing of Katharina Linden and Jane Eagland’s Wildthorn.

Wildthorn follows a pattern familiar to admirers of Sarah Waters, with an unconventional love affair proving the key to Louisa’s escape. It is a bold and thrilling read.

Mary Hoffman in the Guardian reviews Jenny Valentine’s The Ant Colony.

Valentine has moved into new territory. Not geographically - we are still in the sometimes mean streets of Camden Town and Chalk Farm - so much as emotionally.

Back in the Irish Times Donald Clarke investigates the world of movie adaptations - opening with:

Harry Potter fans are not happy. A recent Chicago screening of the upcoming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince generated a typhoon of internet posts from disappointed acolytes. Apparently, they’ve changed the ending. They’ve inserted too much romance. They’ve cut an important series of “memories”.

And sticking with the screen… The papers are agog with reviews, news and interviews of Sky’s adaptation of Skellig. John Patterson talks to Tim Roth in the Guardian. Tom Sutcliffe in the Independent UK reviews the show. And Gareth McLean breaks the news that Sky, armed with a decent budget, are planning to continue making new, interesting adaptations under the eye of commissioning editor of Elaine Pyke.

And there’s more!

Japan are planning to export Manga as a means to increasing their revenue (Guardian)
Staying with Manag - DragonballZ gets a 2 star rating (Times UK)
Graham Linehan tells us what he’d like to see next (Independent UK)
Education is new Teachers versus Television according to some (Independent UK)
The interweb is lamenting the loss of Go4it (Awfully Big Blog Adventure)
Philip French reviews the original Let the Right One In, before the US remake (Guardian)
JK Rowling stepped down as a patron of Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland (NY Times)
How much do authors owe their readers? (Guardian Book Blog)
And finally - Tor.com has an introduction to all of the Hugo nominated artists.


What are you doing on April 25?

I’ve just spotted an anomaly in spacetime*. In Dublin, on the 25 April 2009, children’s literature will clash - with two great events at the same time.

First up, in Rathmines at half 9 in the morning - Walker Books and the Church of Ireland College of Education have a huge line up of picture book genius (geniuses, genii?). Patrick Benson, Bruce Ingman and Niamh Sharkey will appear alongside Deirdre McDermott, Walker Book’s senior picturebook designer, and Lizzie Spratt, Walker’s commissioning editor, to talk all things picture and book.

Interested yet? (Really, you should be by now) Tickets for the day are €35 (€20 for students), not a bad deal considering there’s lunch thrown in and a day with some visual genius/geniuses/genii. For more you can email here or click here.

And now for the anomoly… From half 2 on the same afternoon - there is the CBI/National Gallery of Ireland Family Afternoon (as if spending the day with three authors and two publishers wasn’t enough). You can head to the National Gallery and learn how to draw with some other genius/geniuses/genii, namely Derek Landy, Frances Coghlan, Mary Jane Boland, Jim O’Callaghan, Caomhán Mac Con Iomaire and Maeve McGrath. Details about the workshops are over on the CBI site.

Now you see the dilemma… Either I learn to clone myself or I’m going to miss one of the events. Anyone got any ideas on how to bend time/space?

* Referring of course to the mathematical union of
3-dimensional space and time as a 4-dimensional manifold
(often used a device in science fiction stories). (wiki)

Written by david. in: childrens books, linkage | Tags: ,

Is it Monday all ready?

I’m nearly certain that there is a great big switch somewhere that makes time move faster from 5pm on a Friday until midnight on a Sunday. It’s Monday again all ready… but this Monday is different - it’s the beginning of the end. (That ‘end’ isn’t of a ‘world is coming to an end‘ kind - more that I’m only four Mondays away from flying away!) Plenty of time to brag…

And since I’m on the topic of bragging - did anyone see this weekends Irish Independent?? No? It featured not one, not two, but, technically, three articles on children’s books.

Sarah Webb reviews Derek Landy’s new Skullduggery Pleasant - Landy’s dialogue crackles with authenticity and wit. And there is a run down of all the new releases so far - including a mention of Oisín McGann’s The Baby Giant and the upcoming new releases from Mercier Press.

And there is the mandatory call for votes in the Irish Book Awards - have you voted yet?

In the Times UK - Amanda Craig has an easter round-up (’tis the season) that covers old and new books - including Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, Derek Landy’s new Skulduggery Pleasant (have I mentioned that already?) and Martin Jenkins and Chris Riddell’s take on Don Quixote.

In the Sunday Times Nicolette Jones reviews Dawn Casey and Anne Wilson’s The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales:

This attractive book marries ancient wisdom with modern environmentalism, collecting seven tales from around the world and telling us how to take care of the earth.

Sticking with round-ups, Jane Sandell and Keith Gray appear in the Scotsman with a list that covers everything from toddler to teenager - including Linda Newbery’s The Sandfather, Amy Green Teen Agony Queen: Boy Trouble and Julia Donaldson’s Running On The Cracks.

It is the end of an era in the Independent UK - as Suzi Feay finishes up as books editor. In her own words - Reigning in hell has been such fantastic fun. Elsewhere in the paper Roy of the Rovers gives a tell all interview. And with the theme of football - Wayne Rooney revealed that his favourite book is Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone.

The Guardian has the news that Maya Soetoro-Ng, Barrack Obama’s half sister, is to write a picture book - publiched by Candlewick. Sticking with the Guardian, Philip Ardagh reviews the rollercoaster that is Andy Mulligan’s Ribblestrop.

Andy Mulligan’s first foray into children’s fiction is a blast of fresh air. It’s weird and wonderful and very hard to define…. …Ribblestrop is disgracefully dangerous high-octane fun of the highest order: an outrageous delight.

State Magazine’s John Walshe talks to Cam Gigandet, also known as James in the film adaptation of Twilight. 

Elsewhere in the world: Tor announced that the first of Robert Jordan’s conclusion to the Wheel of Time will be released on 3 November, 2009.

Stephanie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn was announced as winner of the Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards.

The Monsters have are still keeping those authors hostage - but the care they’re getting seems to be okay, they have access to Spielberg, Lucas and Kasdan transcripts.

And finally - I missed this last week - The Sunday Tribune featured a ghostbuster.

Nine times out of 10 our clients need a plumber not a priest.

Written by david. in: Reading, childrens books, linkage | Tags: , ,

Happy International Children’s Book Day (belatedly)

2 April was International Children’s Book Day… and Hans Christan Andersen’s birthday. So how did you celebrate?

I spent the evening listening to Carole Bloch talk about the disarray of language across Africa and the battle to bring children’s literature into the hands and minds of children. How children’s publishing in Africa is dominated by large multinational companies publishing textbooks in English. How little or no stories are published and the continued search for African writers and illustrators is slowly going forward. And when I got home I read the Little Hands Trust Blog for almost an hour.

Another reason to celebrate are the two Irish nominations for the Hans Christan Andersen Medal, PJ Lynch and Eoin Colfer. iBbY Ireland have put the two godfathers of Irish children’s books forward for the most prestigious awards. Here’s hoping that the current run of Irish winning luck holds out and that Eoin and PJ both come away with the honours! (Niamh Sharkey has plenty more about the nominations)

Hope you enjoyed your International Children’s Book Day.

Written by david. in: awards, childrens books, linkage | Tags: , ,

Monday Balderdashing

I finished work on Friday (off on 6 months leave no less), except I forgot to mention any of this to my alarm clock, which went off at 7am as usual. Without quite realising what I was doing I showered, dressed and had some breakfast before dashing off to catch a bus. Luckily… I did manage to stop myself at the door of the office, turn around and head home again. A very close call.

Anyway - on with some links:

JK Rowling is having a fight with scribd.com according to the Irish Independent.

And sticking with literary heavyweights - via Bookwitch - Phillip Pullman’s website has been overhauled.

Nicolette Jones, Times UK, reviews Janny Valentine’s The Ant Colony

Valentine’s observation and language is both unexpected and refreshing: when, for instance, possessions are thrown out of a window, ‘Clothes float with grace and land silently, while cutlery is more chaotic.’

Also from the Times a few weeks ago - ‘10 Best Literary Sequels’.

In the Guardian, David Barnett has noticed a trend of fictional characters signing book deals.

While SF Said reviews Anna Perera’s Guantanamo Boy:

There’s no doubting Guantanamo Boy’s integrity, nor its seriousness of purpose in documenting this shocking situation. If it does not achieve everything that it might as fiction, it stands as an important work that deserves a wide audience - not only among teenagers, but anyone who cares about the big issues of our time.

The Independent UK reviews Channel 4’s Inbetweeners and the growing interest of new home-grown teen television.

Back at home - the Sunday Tribune details life on the horror of the literary world - the slush pile.

And finally, Laura Cassidy chooses her book of the month - Miles to Go.

Written by david. in: Reading, childrens books, linkage | Tags: , ,

A damsel in distress and a rogue tooth fairy

Today I’m reading Damsel, Susan Connolly’s debut, and Gregory Maguire’s What the Dickens. Back on Monday with lots of news.

Update: Gregory Maguire (the man behind Wicked) has crafted two stories, each as strange as the other, on one dark and stormy night. What the Dickens is a finely tuned, immense read. Damsel complimented it, with the pithy story of Annie - the damsel turned hero - and her quest to rescue her Dad. (With some great illustrations by Axel Rator) I’m convinced that ‘How to slay Dragons - and other advice for the hero in training’ should be a book all unto itself.

Written by david. in: Reading, childrens books | Tags: ,

More balderdash!

Just for today I’m giving ye some more shiny links to look at. You know you want to. Back tomorrow with something interesting (promise).

Roy of the Rovers is being reincarnated - Egmont is publishing four 64 page special edition collections of the comic strip. But that’s not all - plans are afoot to see similar special collections of Battle, Buster and Misty later this year.

Vulpes Libris have a picture book round up - including a review of one of my favourites The Story of the Little Mole who knew it was None of his Business.

The Independent UK has more news about the impending new bill on graphic novels and cartoons of children.

Bookbrunch has news that Polly Dunbar’s series Tilly and Friends is being adapted by our own JAM Media for new multimedia platforms. (This is going to be good!)

And finally - via Achockablog - comes the news that Philip Ardagh has agreed to write a new series for Faber called ‘Grubtown Tales’. A special Grubtown tale will feature as a World Book Day book next year - paired with a Pongwiffy story from Kaye Umansky as part of a flip book.


A black, faceless Saturday

Today I’ll be reading…

Back tomorrow - go on, get yerself out and enjoy the sunny weekend.

Update: My heart is still racing after reading Skullduggery Pleasant - The Faceless Ones. If you haven’t got your copy yet - go now. GO! No, wait come back. Holly Black’s book is another story altogether - it’s a different type of incredible. So ye should really buy both of them. In fact, do.

Now you can go. GO ON!

Written by david. in: Reading, books, childrens books | Tags: ,

Stop the presses!

The lovely Niamh Sharkey has some interesting things to say in the wake of Arts Council meetings about Children’s Literature and the recent seminars. There has been a lot of talk about what is needed and it is great to read Niamh’s passionate post about children’s books and illustration.

It is felt by all involved in Children’s Literature that we need more press space for children’s Literature… …Now it’s up to the Irish Press and Media to step up to the mark. I think they should start with PJ Lynch and Eoin Colfer as it was great news to hear that this week, PJ Lynch and Eoin Colfer have been put forwards as the IBBY Ireland nominations for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal. Irish writer Martin Waddell won in 2004. It is the most prestigious Award in Children’s Books, the Nobel Prize of kids Lit! I hope PJ and Eoin Colfer get lots of press space.
- Niamh Sharkey

It really is time that the Irish meeja took a better look at how children’s books are represented - and I know that it is something on the agenda. There is a wealth of passionate, intelligent reviewers and commentators who are willing to fill columns and take over airwaves - all they need is an invitation.

And speaking of all thing illustration, Happy 40th Birthday to the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Written by david. in: childrens books, linkage | Tags: ,

Who is this creature with terrible claws?

One of the fall outs from suffering a Shamrock Shake come-down was that I missed Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler in Dublin on Wednesday. (Those milkshakes have a lot to answer for). Those that made it to Eason’s on O’Connell street tell me that it was great and crikes am I jealous!

The Irish Independent had a story on the appearance yesterday - and report that the TV adaptation of the Gruffalo will be out later this year. There’ll be a host of merchandise to go with it - including - Gruffalo pyjamas. Consider this a very early plea for the PJ’s next christmas!


Why didn’t I think of that?

Every now and again I hear of an idea that just seems to make so much sense - and there is the obligatory… why didn’t I think of that?! mykidstime.ie is one of those ideas. A one-stop listing of events/activities/offers and more for parents looking to spend time with their kids.

Now here’s the part that makes most sense… what is to stop a publisher/pr guru/writer from using this resource to tap into an audience of parents interested in spending time with their children? What about a free ‘meet-the-author’ day with goodie-bags, surprise competitions - all in association with a resource website or two, some book groups, arts organisations, a publisher…whoever. It could easily become a regular occurrence, with a book stand to sell some books.

And you could take this one on the road. One day in Dublin, another in Galway, Belfast or Cork. Not necessarily all in a row, or with the same authors, but with a recognised brand (publisher or the website) and a publishers name over it. An initiative for children and parents to meet authors, win free books and hear some stories - seems pretty cheap and marketable.

Written by david. in: childrens books, linkage | Tags: ,

Caution! Libraries with teeth (and more news from the weekend)

Kevin Myers got the letter of the week - from a librarian responding to this:

Does not a state-subsidised library in a small town undermine the chances of an economically viable bookshop surviving nearby, especially during a recession? For then, people will choose to borrow books for free, rather than buy them.

My new favourite librarian (Aine Beausang, Roscrea, Co Tipperary) hit back with a well thought-out response - go have a read. (Library closures in the UK get a mention in The Independent UK)

And sticking with the Irish Independent comes news that the Irish Book Awards are running a competition with PJ Lynch - and the chance to win the shortlisted books from the awards. Details are here.

The Times UK has Oxford Literature Festival fever - with more big interviews. Nicolette Jones talks to Clara Vulliamy (Illustrator, children’s writer and Shirley Hughes’ daughter). And John Carey talks to George Orwell’s son, Richard Blair.

In the Guardian Julia Eccleshare reviews Petr Horacek’s Elephant, Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monk’s What the Ladybird Heard and Emily Gravett’s Dogs. Siobhan Dowd’s Solace of the Road is reviewed by Frank Cotrell Boyce -

Stories are chains of consequence, one thing leads to another. But some of the most sublime stories end when an act of grace or love that means “it ain’t necessarily so”. Abraham doesn’t have to sacrifice Isaac. The Green Knight has the right to decapitate Gawain but barely nicks him with his sword. The prodigal son thinks he has spent all his father’s love but discovers that it is endless.

Dowd’s glittering career fits more or less into the fearful gap between diagnosis and death. Here’s a story about a journey which is equally fearful but which turns out to be worth it, thanks, as Holly says, to people who “did something to help me and asked for nothing back”.

And last but by no means least (one I missed from last week) Owen Vaughan talks to Tim Sale (the man behind Heroes, and much much more).

Two things. I can’t think of another show where art drives the plot. Other shows might have featured art in an episode but the art wouldn’t be part of the storytelling of the entire show. Second, I only have at most two seconds of screen time for any particular image so what I do has to have an immediate impact. My comic book background is invaluable for that because a comic book artist is trained to make an immediate impact with their work. Their primary job is to make the reader want to know what’s going on and that’s my primary job on Heroes. I hope the series survives. - Tim Sale

Written by david. in: Comics, childrens books, linkage | Tags: , ,

Have you got a darkside?

The staff at Eason's take their costumes very, very seriously

The kids, their tastes are a-changing. Well not really, the Goosebump and Point Horror series were huge favourite a few years ago. But with the return of the vampire and Meyer’s Twilight series holding the top five slots in the Irish Book Charts for three weeks in January - publishers, writers and booksellers are looking for their darkside.

And today (it being Friday 13 and all) Eason’s are celebrating the macarbe - their the store on O’Connell Street, Dublin, has been overrun by a Skeleton Detective and a hoard of Vampirates, (Derek Landy and Justin Somper). Head on over - the staff may be in hiding, the books may be on fire and odd insignia might even be scrawled on the tiles but don’t be afraid… we all like a good scare once in a while. Right?

Update: Almost as if they knew about the darkside launch, Harper Collins announced their plans to publish new books by Darren Shan. A stand-alone fantasy quest novel, a four-book vampire series, plus seven manga titles based on Shan’s best-selling Saga of Darren Shan series.


Residing in (cyber)space.

I mentioned Patrick Ness’ appointment as the first ever online Writer In Residence for Booktrust. Patrick himself is writing about his residence in cyberspace, the current economic gets a mention and the constant push to be a ‘Writer of Literature’ to just being a writer over at the Guardian.

Or to put it another way, why is it that if you’re not published you’re “not really” a writer? (And it has to be a recognised publisher with press reviews, launch parties, book festivals, torrid affairs with other writer’s wives, the whole lot.)

Why, I wonder, can’t writing be like playing a musical instrument? You can play a musical instrument for pleasure at home without feeling like a failure just because you haven’t been asked to join the Berlin Philharmonic. Why don’t we treat writing as something that can be as personal and private (and vital) as singing in the shower?

In other news - the CBI Bisto Book of the Year shortlist got some media attention from the Irish Examiner and the Irish Independent.

Written by david. in: awards, childrens books, linkage | Tags: , ,

Bisto Book of the Year 2009 | Shortlist

And here it is, the moment some of you have been waiting for. The announcement of the Children’s Books Ireland Bisto Book of the year Shortlist 2009!

  • Airman - Eoin Colfer (Puffin)
  • An Phleist Mhór - Ré O’Laighléis, Susan Edwards & Emily Colenso (Móinin)
  • Anila’s Journey - Mary Finn (Walker)
  • Bog Child - Siobhan Dowd (David Fickling)
  • Brionglóidí - Áine Ní Ghlinn & Carol Betera (Cló Mhaigh Eo)
  • Creature of the Night - Kate Thompson (The Bodley Head)
  • Her Mother’s Face - Roddy Doyle (Scholastic Books)
  • Highway Robbery - Kate Thompson (The Bodley Head)
  • The Gift of the Magi Illustrated - PJ Lynch (Walker Books)
  • The Great Paper Caper - Oliver Jeffers (Harper Collins)

Congratulations to everyone shortlisted - and if you’re craving more - have a read of my navel gazing about being a judge.

Written by david. in: awards, childrens books | Tags: ,

Old news is still news of some sort…

I’m a little late with the run down of this week’s papers… just a little late. And there was news a-plenty; starting in the Times UK with the announcement of the Times/Chicken House Prize - including an interview with the winner, Sophie Bennett.

And in the run up to the announcement David Almond had this (and much more) to say:

Books are not a threatened species. They are ordinary features of the ordinary world. Kids read them, just as many (how many?) adults read them. They aren’t “good” for us in the way that medicine is. They don’t “help” in any specific ways. Feeding books to the bad lads won’t immediately civilise them and make them good. But they draw us together. They entertain us. They show us as we are - imperfect, partial, elusive, unfinished, beyond straightforward comprehension. They show us as we could be - more angelic, more satanic. They show us how our world could be - more like Heaven or more like Hell. Paradoxically, it’s in fiction’s weird mingling of facts and lies that we can approach the deepest and most complex “truths” about ourselves.

Elsewhere in the Times UK, Amanda Craig reviewed Michelle Magorian’s Just Henry and interviewed Jacqueline Wilson. It was a weekend of BIG interviews - the Guardian came up with their own - Nicholas Wroe spoke to Shirley Hughes

I’ve always loved film and theatre, and stories usually come to me visually, running like a movie in my head. The technical part of fitting them into a 32-page picture book is then the challenge. I think of the page as a sort of screen or stage, but there’s also a gutter which runs down the middle of a book. In the first Alfie story he locked himself inside the house and the gutter became a section-view of the door. It’s an old silent movie trick and the Marx brothers used it. You get two scenes, the anxious child one side and the anxious mother the other. They can’t see each other but the reader sees both sides. Perfect for the story and for the form of a picture book. And enormously satisfying.

Staying with the Guardian - Lucy Mangan continues building her perfect library with Astrid Lindgren’s The Six Bullerby Children.

But wait! There’s more - elsewhere comes the news that Patrick Ness is taking up the, very first ever!, online Writer In Residence for Booktrust. The Sunday Tribune recommends writing some books as a possible redundancy beater. And of course there was World Book Day - covered in the Irish Independent as well as the Very Hungry Caterpillar, Sarah Webb and Eoin Purcell’s Blogs.

And finally - I’m reserving final judgement until I get a chance to read the bewk - but the cover art for And Another Thing looks great!

Written by david. in: Reading, childrens books, linkage | Tags: , ,

Behind the Times - Times/Chicken House Prize

I’m a bit late getting to this - sorry, sick all weekend - but the winner of the second Times/Chicken House Prize is… >>drum roll<< Sophia Bennett with her book, Threads.

There’s an interview with the very chuffed prize winner in the Sunday Times

“I was a very, very happy 14-year-old,” Bennett says. “I love going back into that world; I dragged my stepdaughters to see High School Musical, not the other way around. I’ve always been fascinated by those rare children who can combine talent and dedication to achieve greatness.”

Back tomorrow (hopefully) with more from the weekend papers - better late than never!

Written by david. in: awards, childrens books | Tags: ,

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