Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Know your authors

Children need and deserve books by good contemporary authors. They can change how they view not just literacy and literature, but how they view the world, and themselves.

I am very excited to be giving a course shortly called Know your authors. It aims to expand key stage 1 and 2 teachers’ knowledge of excellent modern children’s writers, and to explore ways to use their books to promote reading enjoyment and support children’s learning and development. These are just a few of the authors I am particularly pleased to have included in what has become a very exciting list of seventy brilliant writers (many thanks to Heath Books for all their help in compiling it):

Bernard Ashley – an ex-headteacher, he’s been writing excellent books for years
Atinuke – because Anna Hibiscus is a truly delightful character
Malorie Blackman – no list would be complete without her; she has made so many fantastic contributions to children’s literature
Theresa Breslin – I am full of admiration for all her books, but Divided City has to be my favourite
Frank Cottrell Bruce – all his books are great: thought-provoking, funny and deeply pleasurable
Sharon CreechHate That Cat and Love That Dog are clever and funny, and in verse too
Cornelia Funke – such a great story-teller; Thief Lord is exceptional
Neil Gaiman Coraline took my breath away, and I love his amazing picture books too
Sally Gardner – author of a wide range of excellent books
Jamila Gavin Coram Boy is an extraordinary evocation of a very cruel bit of history
Morris Gleitzman – incredible, skilful writing that takes children to some very uncomfortable places
Emily Gravett – the creator of Wolves and Meerkat Mail has to be on my list
Sally Grindley Broken Glass is fabulous
Eva Ibbotson – I know she’s no longer with us, but I couldn’t leave out the author of Journey to the River Sea; One Dog and His Boy is another very special book
Elizabeth Laird – everything I’ve read of hers has been important and haunting, A Little Piece of Ground perhaps my favourite
Hilary McKay – her books about Saffy and her family are especially enjoyable
Linda Newberry – her writing is consistently fine
Michelle Paver Chronicles of Ancient Darkness are modern classics
Catherine Rayner – her picture books are beautiful and thoughtful
Philip Reeve – a wonderful story-teller whose writing spans a wide age range
Peter H Reynolds – author and illustrator of inspiring picture books; The Dot is superb
Rick Riordhan – he makes ancient mythology accessible and interesting
Michael Rosen – not just a terrific poet, but the author of very good, enjoyable and inclusive chapter books, and of the extraordinary Michael Rosen’s Sad Book
Louis Sachar – everyone knows Holes; he has written lots of other great books too
Andy Stanton – he’s got so many children reading, not least the girl above, who was very keen to show me his books when I was in her school library
Shaun Tan – because his picture books are quite outstanding, and unlike any others
David Walliams – his books are wonderfully Dahl-esque
Marcia Williams – she brings history, mythology and great literature to life, often in comic book style; My Secret War Diary is brilliant

Can’t wait to give the course!