Tag archives: children’s and young people’s book awards

Friday, 5 May 2017

Books for children and young people – sources of information, recommendations, reviews and lists

IMG_4114I’m often asked how to find out about good children’s and teenage books. Here are links to websites and journals that I find particularly useful.

All these are valuable sources of book reviews, and each also has interesting articles about the wider children’s book world: Books for Keeps, School Librarian, Carousel Guide to Children’s Books and Armadillo Magazine. (I should perhaps point out that write reviews for both Armadillo and School Librarian.)

Book Trust is an invaluable source of information about books for children and teenagers. I find their Book Finder extremely helpful.

I’m also a big fan of the Scottish Book Trust. Their themed children’s booklists are excellent, as are their lists of books for teenagers.

Love Reading 4 Kids and Love Reading 4 Schools have good lists and recommendations.

Schools library services, for those lucky enough to have one nearby (find out from this list), have wonderful book knowledge and huge expertise in providing book collections geared to individual schools’ curriculum needs.

School librarians are supremely knowledgeable about good books to enthuse students about reading and to support the curriculum.

For those working in the primary sector Core Books Online contains well curated booklists and information.

Books for Topics is great for anyone seeking ideas for books to support primary curriculum topics.

Letterbox Library is a fantastic source of inclusive books. Their themed booklists are exceptionally useful.

Books can be of great therapeutic value. Healthy Books provides themed lists of children’s books on specific emotional and physical needs.

The Federation of Children’s Book Groups has lists on a variety of themes.

I recommend the School Library Association Riveting Reads. I’m proud to have contributed in a tiny way to the latest one, A World of Books in Translation.

It’s worth keeping an eye on book award winners. IBBY UK has a useful overview of major national and international prizes. The Heart of the School site has another valuable list, including local book awards.

Finally, I find Twitter enormously helpful for keeping up to date. Almost all of the sites and organisations I’ve listed have good Twitter feeds. The book review page on my website contains a book bite section, with book items that have caught my attention on Twitter, or that I have tweeted about.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award and Seven Stories

What a treat to attend the award ceremony for the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book  Award at Seven Stories yesterday. For anyone who does not know, the award was set up to encourage and promote diversity in children’s fiction. It is given for the best unpublished novel celebrating cultural diversity by an author who has not published a children’s book before. The prize is £1500 plus the option for Frances Lincoln Children’s Books to publish the book.

The winner this year is Helen Limon for Om Shanti, Babe. Going on the extracts that were read out, and what the judges said, it sounds very clever, funny and engaging. Fourteen year-old Cassia visits India with her Fairtrade-obsessed mother, and finds her preconceptions well and truly shattered. I’m really looking forward to reading this, especially after talking to Helen about it. The book was inspired by a visit to Kerala with her daughter, and by her conversations with mothers and children there.

Yesterday’s ceremony also celebrated the publication of last year’s winning novel, Too Much Trouble, by Tom Avery. It’s a gripping book that I read at a sitting on my journey back from Newcastle. Emmanuel and Prince are illegal child immigrants from Africa. Their grim and precarious lives become a whole lot scarier when they get trapped in a modern-day Oliver Twist existence. It was really good to meet Tom. He has taught in both secondary and primary schools and definitely knows and understands children living at the margins.

Visiting Seven Stories was a delight. What a fantastic place! The Anthony Browne exhibition is fabulous. It was particularly lovely to watch two small girls excitedly donning Little Red Riding Hood coats before exploring the shadowy woods. I loved the Puffin exhibition too. Loads of favourite books, and lots of fascinating information about their inception and publication.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Inside by J A Jarman

I have just caught up with this great novel for older teenagers about a young offender, seventeen year-old Lee, who struggles with the brutal demands of life inside a young offenders institution. Julia Jarman has clearly done a huge amount of research, and her book provides a realistic and grim portrayal of the conflicting pressures that young people face in YOIs, from the system and from fellow inmates. Lee has to deal not only with a frightening environment and terrifying companions, but also with the emotional fallout of his crimes. He has to make tough decisions, decisions that expose him to danger, and put his mother at risk. Will his time inside make him a better person or a better criminal?

Inside was deservedly shortlisted for the Young Minds Book Award 2010. This is the trailer for it. And this is Jarman’s webpage about her books for teenagers.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The importance of prizes in children’s literature

This was a fascinating seminar at the London Book Fair yesterday. Authors Beverley Naidoo and Philip Pullman, illustrator Piet Grobler and Guardian Children’s Book Editor Julia Eccleshare all spoke eloquently about the value of children’s book awards, not just to the authors and illustrators at the receiving end, but also in terms of raising awareness of books and reading. For both Pullman and Naidoo, each of whom have won a plethora of prizes, the one that gave them the most pleasure and pride was the Carnegie Award. They talked of the prestige it holds because the judges are librarians, the people who know most about children’s books. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Children’s Laureateship were also highlighted as bestowing enormous honour, while the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Award, the NASEN Award and the now defunct Other Award, which Naidoo won for Journey to Jo’burg, were praised for opening up access to important books that would otherwise be missed. In a note of caution, Eccleshare voiced a concern that because of commercial pressures, awards, together with the ‘bestseller’ tag, may effectively narrow the choices available to children and young people. Some of the very best books fall through the award net. A question from the floor about whether awards influence children’s choices provoked an interesting discussion. Philip Pullman suspected that the reading choices children and young people make themselves are not directly influenced, but that prizes have an impact on those he called the gatekeepers, i.e. librarians, teachers and parents. Eccleshare felt that prizes judged by children, as the Smarties Award was, do inform their choices. I wish that I had thought to ask about their views on local and regional children’s book awards, which I think are very powerful, and which I very much enjoy providing courses on.