Tag archives: Armadillo Magazine

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Recommended reads for children and young people – booklists, book review journals and websites

Get your hands on a book displayLast week TES published a list of books all children should read before leaving primary school.  While the books are mostly excellent,  the very low representation of contemporary fiction, the lack of diversity and the very notion of a cannon of ‘should reads’ have all caused controversy.

In response, school librarian and adviser Dawn Finch has drawn up a very useful list of books that primary pupils might like to read. What a difference Dawn’s phrase ‘might like to read’ makes.

Here is the Telegraph‘s suggestions for summer holiday reading for children. The Telegraph also has a valuable list of best YA books for 2015, which is updated regularly.

The Guardian children’s book site is a fabulous resource, full of recommendations and interesting articles. There are some great titles in the latest picture book reviews.  You can find reviews for recent books for 8-12s here. This is the new round-up of good fiction for teenagers.

Books for Keeps is consistently interesting and valuable.

Carousel is another extremely useful resource.

It is well worth keeping an eye on the BookTrust children’s books site as well.

I recommend Armadillo Magazine for reviews and news on books for children and young people (though as one of its reviewers, I must declare an interest).

I’m proud to review for The School Librarian too, which has a phenomenal range of reviews for members of the School Library Association.

Letterbox Library is unrivalled for inclusive books.

Do use all of these. And of course there is nothing to beat going with children to libraries and good bookshops so they can look at lots of wonderful books and choose for themselves.

Many thanks to Etz Chaim Primary School for the great photo.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Chicken House Big Breakfast

I’m a book reviewer for Armadillo Magazine, and it was a treat to represent it at the Chicken House Big Breakfast last week. A lovely opportunity to hear about the books they have lined up, and to talk to lots of authors, publishers, librarians and others who are passionate about good writing for children and young people. Great to meet fellow reviewer Morag Charlwood. Thanks Mo for your contribution to this blog.

Chicken House founder and managing director Barry Cunningham got things off to a great start by asserting that despite the messages of doom and gloom so often peddled about young people’s reading, he sees the present as a fabulous and exciting time for publishing. Story has never been so popular, he said. He highlighted some of the authors Chicken House is publishing this spring. Five of them then discussed their new books and read excerpts.

‘The ultimate teenage novel’ was Cunningham’s introduction to Melvin Burgess’s latest book The Hit, due out in April. Developed from an original idea by two philosophy teachers, it explores a mind-blowing central proposition: a hijacked euthanasia drug that gives you the best week of your life – before killing you. In a dystopian world, the drug proves irresistible to many young people. Burgess, pictured speaking here, contextualised this in terms of the loss of optimism within the culture of many teenagers today. Adam is tempted. What’s he got to lose? Everything. The story is about hope in the end, we were told. I think this is going to be a fabulous read.

More dystopia in Poison Boy by Fletcher Moss, which won the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2012, and sounds very exciting. I enjoyed talking to Moss. He’s a secondary school teacher who clearly knows teenagers and their reading interests well. Dan Smith’s novel My Friend the Enemy is a WW2 story about two young people who hide a German fighter who has parachuted from his burning bomber plane. I brought home a proof copy and am very much looking forward to reading it. Chasing the Dark by Sam Hepburn is a scary thriller with lots of humour thrown in. Quite something to make that combination work, but work it does, if the excerpt we heard is anything to go by. The Extincts by Veronica Cossanteli is for a slightly younger audience. A secret menagerie of creatures thought to be extinct is in danger from a deranged taxidermist. Good fun.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Book reviews

I’ve enjoyed reviewing books for children and young people – and the occasional professional publication – for School Librarian for quite a while. All my reviews are now on my website, including the books in the photo. I’m very pleased that I am now a reviewer for Armadillo Magazine too. I am currently reading Don’t Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer for them. If you haven’t come across it yet, it’s a clever and funny teenage novel set in a boys’ school. Bauer’s handling of bullying is particularly good. I’ll upload my review once it’s been published.

Those of you with an interest in books for children and teenagers may also be like to see my blog posts on the subject.