The Children’s Literacy Charter & the UK

Nal’ibali (isiXhosa for “here’s the story”) is a South African reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading.

Last year during International World Book Day they released a Children’s Literacy Charter for South Africa.

Download (PDF, 580KB)

While at a glance the Literacy Charter does bear a slight resemblance to Pennac’s Right’s of the Reader it is specifically geared towards enabling children to develop a love of reading and learning.

I had been entertaining some thoughts about adapting the charter for the UK but after playing around with it I have instead decided to push for it to be adopted over here as the wording is inclusive and only minor changes would be needed for a UL/European setting. This, of course is dependent on obtaining Nal’ibali’s blessing to do this.

Nal’ibali: Children’s Literacy Charter

Every year on 23 April, South Africa celebrates World Book Day, which was created by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading. It is celebrated in over 100 countries around the globe to make everyone more aware of how reading can be a satisfying and enjoyable activity – and of course, to invest in our children’s literacy.

Last year on World Book Day, Nal’ibali launched their Children’s Literacy Charter. This charter describes the literacy experiences all children should have if we want them to grow up being able to use reading and writing successfully in their lives. (If you missed it last year, download your copy of the Children’s Literacy Charter in any of South Africa’s languages here!). This year they are launching a version of this charter especially for children so that they become more aware of what they need to help them grow a love of reading, writing and books.

Endorsed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY International), The South African Book Development Council / National Book Week, The Publishers Association of South Africa (PASA), the Little Hands Trust, and PEN South Africa, the children’s literacy rights poster is available in 11 official languages.

You can view the English language version of the poster below.

nalibali rights

To download a copy of the poster in any of South Africa’s 11 official languages, visit this link:

http://nalibali.org/childrens-literacy-rights-poster/

Text and poster are from the Na’libali website

Recommended by a Librarian: In Bloom by Matthew Crow

The Recommending Librarian this week is: Hannah Saks

What are you recommending?

Why have you recommended it?

In Bloom is the story of Francis, a teenage boy who has been diagnosed with leukaemia. In order to receive treatment, Francis has to spend an extended period of time in a special ward for young people like him. He finds it difficult to get on with anyone on the ward but then Amber joins them. In Amber he finds a partner in crime and someone who has to deal with a mum as mad as his own.

When a story involves a teenager with a serious illness falling in love for the first time you might think you know exactly how the story will go. What I loved about In Bloom is that it was actually a very funny book. Francis is one of the most authentic teenage characters I’ve read in years, full of doubts one minute and ridiculous over-confidence the next. Matthew Crow has created characters that are realistic and relatable that will get inside your head and stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

#Milifandom

This morning I was introduced to what is possibly the strangest and most exciting thing in politics and fandom today – the Milifandom.

Note for those that may not be aware of the term, Fandom (according to Wikipedia) is:
a portmanteau consisting of fan [fanatic] plus the suffix -dom, as in kingdom, it is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of empathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest. Fans typically are interested in even minor details of the object(s) of their fandom and spend a significant portion of their time and energy involved with their interest, often as a part of a social network with particular practices (a fandom); this is what differentiates “fannish” (fandom-affiliated) fans from those with only a casual interest.

There is a firm belief among a number of adults that teens are not interested in politics.

I think that the #Milifandom proves them wrong; they are engaging with politics on their own terms and that is where we should meet them, not by trying to talk seriously about politics but by sharing their joy and excitement over the leader of the Labour Party. This is seriously cool and something that we should all celebrate!

In my experience nothing can turn a teenager off faster than rushing at them with something that you tell them you think they should love.

Imagine what would have happened if the Labour Party had approached the youth of the UK to form a leadership fan club?

I do not think that it would have ended well!

How did this fandom happen?

It is possible that teens identify with him, as the majority of young people at some point or other in their lives face bullying, body shaming and awkward photographs of themselves; maybe they have been won over by his earnestness and honesty in the face of bile and disdain. It could be the fact that he sometimes does not look as sleek and polished as the majority of other male politicians or they have been won over by his geeky coolness.

Whatever it is that has ignited their interest, Ed Miliband now has a grass-roots youth following that is (to my knowledge) unprecedented in modern UK politics.

So to everyone that says the youth of the UK are apathetic and uninterested in anything other than superficial pursuits I think I can safely say: think again! It may not be political engagement as you know it, but they are getting engaged and you should feel uncertain because they are bringing their views to the table!

The leader of the #Milifandom movement is on Twitter: @twcuddleston

In the interests of fairness, I will also note that there is now also a David Cameron fandom: The #Cameronettes

Inside the Box: a Selection of Comics and Graphic Novels for All Ages


The Federation of Children’s Book Groups is a national voluntary organisation, whose aim is to promote enjoyment and interest in children’s books and reading.

They also produce a range of brilliant book lists, their latest is called Inside the Box. Compiled by Mélanie McGilloway and Zoë Toft (with support from Neil Cameron) it is a comprehensive list ranging from picture books and comics for all ages to comics for teenagers and young adults. The list also suggests several books about comics and comic creation as well as weekly comic magazines.

This list is essential for those that feel that they do not have the breadth of knowledge needed to make informed decisions on selecting graphic novels for a school or public library and even for librarians that know their comics there are introductions to new titles.

Find out more about the FCBG here and see what book-lists they have available

You can order copies of Inside the Box and other book-lists by e-mailing the Federation at: info@fcbg.org.uk

Delete Blog Tour

Extract from Jeff Povey's Delete by SimonKidsUK

WIN:
One of two copies of DELETE by Jeff Povey

Name the three teens that escaped from the empty world you can find the answers in the extract. Leave your answer in the comments field (comments will remain hidden until the end of the competition)

The competition will run for the duration of the blog tour and is open internationally.

Check out stop 2 on the Delete Blog Tour over at Fiction Fascination

Teen Librarian Monthly April 2015

Download (PDF, 398KB)

Some (rambling) Thoughts on Boys & Reading

These thoughts came about while watching the #BoysAndMen tag on Twitter from the London Book Fair yesterday, and getting involved in the online discussions, I am stillupset at missing out on going!

Anyway… on to my thoughts:

One thing I do know for sure is that it is very hard to turn a reader into a non-reader

Some other things of which I am aware:

    Boys read fewer books than girls
    Women buy and read more books than men do
    Some boys do read
    Not all girls read

I have seen gendered reading schemes focusing on young male readers, The Dads and Lads, Mothers and Sons groups being the most widely spread but I have never seen a reading scheme focusing on solely on girls (if anyone knows of any please let me know!)

I have been in the UK for 13 years now and have worked with teens in libraries for a large part of that time. A decade ago it was all about getting teens into libraries and reading, as the resident teen library person in the local authority that I was working in that task fell to me and a couple of colleagues, one of the biggest fights I had was to be allowed to run events for the teens that actually used the library rather than the ones that did not want to be there. Prevailing wisdom seemed to think that we already had the ones that came to us so they were not a problem; I won that fight as I stood firm in my belief that if you build a better teen library service they will come! (it does work!)

The most success I had at getting boys to read was in mixed groups, in the past boys used to see where girls were congregating in the library and follow them in.

I have found that non-readers on their own or if there are only one or two in a group where the focus is on reading will soon fall into reading. Problems arise when non-readers in a group form the majority and then they feed off each other’s antipathy to reading, this strengthens their resistance to picking up a book and they can distract the attendees that actually want to read.

Divide and rule by peer pressure can be positive if engineered correctly.

I believe that it is nurture over nature that influences a person as a reader. I am the middle of three brothers; we were all brought up in the same household surrounded by books and regular trips to the library for story-times. I love reading and owning my own books, my younger brother enjoys reading and my older brother (and his wife) are bringing up their children with a love of reading, as does my younger brother and as will I.

I have also seen youngsters that come from homes with few to no books pick up a book and fall into reading but they are a minority.

What I would like to know is what makes young readers readers – I am not talking about peer suggestions, advertising or pop culture attractions but rather what in their lives led them to pick up a book and fall in love with the act of reading. Every child loves being read to – even teenagers but what is lost or made stronger when they have to read the stories to themselves?

When it comes to reading the United Kingdom does its utmost to engage citizens from birth, with Bookstart Packs for babies and toddlers. Even with the public service cuts libraries still run baby & toddler times and story sessions and it is all free!

So if anyone would like to add comments or suggestions please do so below!

Celebrate Teen Literature Day (National Library Week USA)

In the United States Librarians all across the country are encouraged to participate in Celebrate Teen Literature Day on April 16, 2015 by hosting events in their library or through their web site on that day.

The purpose of this celebration is to raise awareness among the general public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens. Support Teen Literature Day also seeks to showcase some award-winning authors and books in the genre as well as highlight librarians’ expertise in connecting teens with books and other reading materials.

Find out full details here:

Celebrate Teen Literature Day

Wild by Emily Hughes

It is the BIG, shiny eyes on the cover that grab me first, then the glorious tangle of hair around the wild girl’s face. The only other shiny things on the cover is the text but next to the eyes they are not immediately noticeable, only when one’s eyes start looking at the book as a whole do they become apparent.

“You cannot tame something so happily wild…”

In this beautiful picture book by Hawaiian artist Emily Hughes we meet a little girl who has known nothing but nature from birth – she was taught to talk by birds, to eat by bears and to play by foxes – she is unashamedly, irrefutably, irrepressibly wild. That is, until she is snared by some very strange animals that look oddly like her, but they don’t talk right, eat right, or play correctly. She’s puzzled by their behaviour and their insistence to live in these strange concrete structures known as ‘apartments’. There’s no green here, no animals, no trees, no rivers.

Now she lives in the comfort of civilisation. But will civilisation get comfortable with her?

The text is sparse and the artwork gorgeous, Wild is a book that can be read and shared time and time again. There is so much to look at and find on all the pages from crabs in the river to skulls underground and more!

I love the story, it is so simply told with the most beautiful illustrations! The faces and body language of both humans and animals are so expressive in their joy, anger, confusion and sadness that they render text almost unnecessary.

I will finish with one last observation on the eyes (I am not ocularly obsessed) I noticed that the girl’s eyes mirror those of the animals in the story with large black pupils and no irises unlike the other humans in the story – it was this small bit of attention to detail that made me love the story even more!

Disclaimer: I won the copy of Wild that I have from Flying Eye Books along with a print of one of the pages.