Monthly Archives: September 2016

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The Deviants by C.J. Skuse

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THEN
Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane.

The Fearless five, inseparable as children growing up in a sleepy English seaside town. But when Max’s older sister is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.

NOW
Only Max and Ella are in touch, still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen.

But Ella is hiding things – like why she is afraid to take their relationship to the next level. And when underdog Corey is bullied, the Fearless Five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them.

But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

 
I would like to take the opportunity to address C.J. Skuse instead of just writing a general review as I feel so strongly about this, please bear with me:

What the boldly hell were you thinking? Toying with my feelings like this?

The Deviants delivered a round-house kick to my emotions, it was by turns gripping, tender, exciting and heart-breaking! I began reading thinking I was reading one type of story and it ended being another type altogether!
 
Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane held my attention over three wonderful, upsetting evenings, the way you told their story in the present time and peeled back time to what had gone before was nothing short of masterful! I ran the whole gamut of emotions while reading and had tears in my eyes at the end.
 
Thank you!

Now dear reader of this blog I implore you to purchase a copy of this book, or go to your local library and borrow a copy*.

*You will not regret it!

Schools testing kills joy of reading says War Horse author

War Horse author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo will today criticise testing in schools for killing the joy of reading, creating fear and anxiety, and bringing about a sense of worthlessness in children.

The former Children’s Laureate and President of BookTrust, speaking at the inaugural BookTrust Lecture on the evening of 21st September, will state that we are all as a society responsible “both for the successes and failures of our literacy and our society.” Morpurgo says that it is not just the fault of successive governments, “who corral schools and pressure teachers into teaching literacy fearfully, who insist that measurable outcomes and results are the be all and end all of the education process.”

Michael Morpurgo will say that the teaching of reading in schools can take the wonder out of stories and turn them into a subject for comprehension tests, handwriting tests and grammar tests in which at least as many children fail as succeed, leading children to give up.

“You disappoint yourself, disappoint others. You give up. I gave up. To give up on books is to give up on education, and if you give up on education, then you can so easily give up on hope… So many avenues barred, so many possibilities never imagined, so many discoveries never made, so much understanding of yourself, of others, stunted forever.”

Morpurgo is calling for every primary school to reinstate Storytime at the end of every school day, and make it: “a special time, a fun time, devoted entirely to reading, to writing, to storytelling, to drama. No testing, no comprehension, no analysis, no interrogation. Let the children go home dreaming of the story, reliving it, wondering. All that matters at that early age is that they learn to love it, that they want to listen to more stories, read them, tell them, write them, act them out, sing them, dance them. All the rest will come later, the literacy side of things, which is important, once that seed is sown. Children have to want to learn. So give them the love of story first; the rest will follow.”

He will point to, “an apartheid system of a kind in this country, between haves and have-not children, between those who read, who through books, through developing an enjoyment of literature, can have the opportunity to access the considerable cultural and material benefits of our society; and those who were made to feel very early on that the world of words, of books, of stories, of ideas, was not for them, that they were not clever enough to join that world, that it was not the world they belonged to, that it was shut off from them for  ever.”

 

“Our prisons are full of them, full of those we have failed. Many remain lonely and marginalised all their lives. The right book, the right author, the right parent, the right teacher, the right librarian, at the right time, might have saved some of them at least, made the difference, shone a light into a dark life, turned that life around.”

The BookTrust Annual Lecture has been launched by the leading children’s reading charity, to give a platform for debate around children’s reading. BookTrust’s Time to Read campaign is calling for families and schools to support children in developing a love of reading, keeping shared reading alive even when children are ‘too old’ for a bedtime story. Research shows that as children start school, reading enjoyment starts to slip; by the time they are ten or eleven reading as a pastime has been superseded by social media and screen time. On average 78% of children age 5-7 read to themselves at least once a week, compared to 53% of 11-13 year olds and 38% of 14-17 year olds [Egmont].

BookTrust Chief Executive, Diana Gerald, says: “Children who enjoy reading are happier, healthier; they are more empathetic, do better academically, and do better in life generally. But reading enjoyment doesn’t just happen; it needs to be encouraged, by parents, teachers and librarians. Children need to be supported to find the book that gets them hooked – whether that book is a Dickens classic, a turn-pager thriller, or a story about football, Minecraft, zombies or witches. The important thing is to give children a choice, and to support that choice.

“Reading isn’t a tick list of books that need to have been read; nor is it just a skill to be learned then filed away. Literacy can, and should be tested; reading for pleasure needs to be nurtured, and seen more like exercise – do it as regularly as you can, make it fun, and read together whenever possible for maximum benefits.”

For more information or if you would like to attend the lecture contact Monica Brimacombe in the BookTrust Press Office on 020 7801 8849 or mobile: 07811 138185. Email: Monica.Brimacombe@booktrust.org.uk

An (incomplete) List of British BAME Authors for Children & Young People

When the list of books for the 20th anniversary of World Book Day in 2017 was released last week it was notable for being lily-white. I was surprised that a day purporting to celebrate books across the world was limited to authors that are from a small part of it and decided to take a look at British authors for children and young people in the UK that have a BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) heritage. While putting the list together I was helped in this endeavour by a number of brilliant friends and colleagues on twitter and facebook.

This list is not complete so if you have suggestions for more authors or if you are an author with a BAME heritage then please do let me know in the comments beneath this post.

Sophia Acheampong

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John Agard

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Patrice Aggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sufiya Ahmed

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Atinuke

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Floella Benjamin
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Malorie Blackman

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Sita Bramichari

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Tanya Byrne

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Sarwat Chadda

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Joseph Coelho

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Ellie Daines
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Narinder Dhami

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Jamila Gavin

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Rohan Gavin

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Candy Gourlay

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Swapna Haddow

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Yasmeen Ismail

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Catherine Johnson

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Savita Kalhan

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Peter Kalu

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Patrice Lawrence

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Sangu Mandanna

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Irfan Master

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Taran Matharu

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Stefan Mohamed

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Wilf Morgan

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Millie Murray

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Grace Nichols

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Sam Osman

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Anna Perera

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Smriti Prasadam-Halls

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Bali Rai

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Leila Rasheed

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Jasmine Richards

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Na’ima B Robert

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SF Said

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Emma Shevah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Nadia Shireen

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Nikesh Shukla

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Chitra Soundar

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Tabitha Suzuma

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Meera Syal

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Alex Wheatle

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Verna Wilkins

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Ken Wilson-Max

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Benjamin Zephaniah

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Tamarind Press

Tamarind Books was founded by Verna Wilkins in 1987 with the mission of redressing the balance of diversity in children’s publishing. Over twenty years later, the world has changed but the problem is still very relevant today. And so, Tamarind still exists to put diversity ‘in the picture’.

Hope Road Publishing

HopeRoad Publishing is an exciting, independent publisher, vigorously supporting voices too often neglected by the mainstream. We are promoters of literature with a special focus on Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. At the heart of our publishing is the love of outstanding writing from writers you, the reader, would have otherwise missed.

Cassava Pepublic Press

Our mission is to change the way we all think about African writing. We think that contemporary African prose should be rooted in African experience in all its diversity, whether set in filthy-yet-sexy megacities such as Lagos or Kinshasa, in little-known rural communities, in the recent past or indeed the near future. We also think the time has come to build a new body of African writing that links writers across different times and spaces.

Fire Tree Books

Building on the powerful legacy of Verna Wilkins’ 30 years in the industry, Firetree books is expanding, updating and refreshing important messages for a new audience in today’s diverse classrooms and homes.
Firetree presents unselfconscious representations of all children. Our books aim to inspire and entertain readers by depicting the diversity and lives of children in our shrinking, inter-dependent world.

Jacaranda Books

Jacaranda Books Art Music Ltd is a fresh and exciting new independent publishing house based in London. We publish adult fiction and non-fiction, including illustrated books, which cross linguistic, racial, gender and cultural boundaries – books in many ways as cosmopolitan as our city.

The Jhalak Prize

The prize is unique in that it will be accepting entries published in the UK in 2016 by a writer of colour. This will include (and not be limited to) fiction, non-fiction, short story, graphic novel, poetry, children’s books, YA, teen and all genres. The prize will also be open to self-published writers. The aim is the find the best writers of colour in the country.

#TeenLibrarian Monthly September 2016

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SCOTTISH TEENAGE BOOK PRIZE SHORTLIST REVEALED

#ScotTeenBookPrize

Authors Keith Gray, Claire McFall and Joan Lennon have made it onto the shortlist for the very first Scottish Teenage Book Prize.

The prize, set up to celebrate the most popular teen books by Scottish authors, is run by Scottish Book Trust with support from Creative Scotland. Shortlisted authors receive £500 per book, and the winning author will receive £3,000.

THE SCOTTISH TEENAGE BOOK PRIZE 2017 SHORTLIST IS:

· The Last Soldier by Keith Gray (Barrington Stoke)
· Black Cairn Point by Claire McFall (Hot Key Books)
· Silver Skin by Joan Lennon (Birlinn)

Keith Gray is shortlisted for his book The Last Soldier, a dyslexia-friendly thriller set in 1920’s Texas. Even though Keith was labelled a reluctant reader when he was younger, these days he’s an award-winning writer, reviewer and editor of Young Adult fiction. He spends much of his time visiting schools hoping to convince other reluctant readers that ‘Books are for life, not just for homework.’ His novel Ostrich Boys has been adapted for the stage and will be performed at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry this autumn.

Commenting on his nomination, Keith said:

“I’m surprised, excited and genuinely honoured to have ‘The Last Soldier’ shortlisted for the Scottish Teenage Book Prize. It’s extremely unusual to have a work of short fiction considered for a prestigious literary award and I hope the readers enjoy finding the big story, big characters, and big emotions in such a small book.”

Claire McFall is shortlisted for her novel Black Cairn Point, a chilling and atmospheric thriller which explores what happens when an ancient malevolent spirit is reawakened. Claire is a writer and English teacher who lives in the Scottish Borders. Her first book, Ferryman is a love story which retells the ancient Greek myth of Charon, the ferryman of Hades who transported souls to the underworld. The novel won the Older Readers Category of the Scottish Children’s Book Awards 2013 and was long-listed for the UKLA (UK Literary Association) Book Awards and nominated for the Carnegie Medal. Her second novel, Bombmaker, was released in 2014 and considers ideas of identity in a dystopian devolved United Kingdom. Black Cairn Point is her third novel and was released in August 2015.

Commenting on her nomination, Claire said:

“I’m incredibly pleased that ‘Black Cairn Point’ has been selected as one of the short-listed novels. This is the first year of the new Scottish Teenage Book Prize and I’m delighted to be a part of it. What I love best about the prize is that it is determined purely by votes from Scottish teenage readers. I’m really looking forward to connecting with young readers and sharing my story with them.”

Joan Lennon is shortlisted for her book Silver Skin, a highly original tale set in Stone Age Orkney, which explores what happens when ancient and modern worlds collide. Joan is a Scottish Canadian/Canadian Scot, who lives and writes in the Kingdom of Fife. She likes to write about ideas from a slightly slanted perspective and see how far the question What if? can be pushed. She has four sons, two cats and a great view over the River Tay towards Dundee.

Commenting on her nomination, Joan said:

“I’m really excited to be part of the new Scottish Teenage Book Prize in its very first year. To know that Silver Skin is being read and talked about by the people it was written for is a great feeling – and I can’t wait to see the book trailers!”

Heather Collins, Schools Programme Manager at Scottish Book Trust, said;

“The Scottish Teenage Book prize is intended as a celebration of the very best of Scottish YA fiction, and I defy any teenager to put these books down once they have read the first page – they all contain the ingredients of a gripping read and I predict a close-run competition.”

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, said;

“Congratulations to all three shortlisted authors in the brand new Teenage Book Prize. The benefits of encouraging young people to read – from transporting us to other worlds to better understanding the one we’re in – are virtually limitless and Scottish Book Trust are true champions of that cause. The new prize encourages teens themselves to actively celebrate the books they love, whilst creating a platform for Scottish writing talent to be recognised and promoted. Creative Scotland is delighted to be able to support both these valuable aims.”

Children aged 12-16 across the country can now vote for the winner by submitting a class vote online via the Scottish Book Trust website.

The winning book will be announced via an exclusive video on Wednesday 1st March 2017.

Aspiring film makers can enter the book trailer competition to showcase their digital talents and win book tokens for their school and for themselves. Scottish Book Trust provides extensive learning resources for teachers on how to create book trailers.

MANDATORY CREDIT: ROB MCDOUGALL STUDENTS FROM LIBERTON HIGH SCHOOL IN EDINBURGH:  REBECCA, 16 (DENIM JACKET), CHARLIE, 16 (DUNGAREES AND TARTAN SHIRT), GUY, 13 (DARK HAIR, BLUE HOODY), ROBERT, 13 (BLONDE HAIR, GREY SHIRT), ANDREA, 13 (GREY HOODY, RED JEANS). The prize, set up to celebrate the most popular teen books by Scottish authors, is run by Scottish Book Trust with support from Creative Scotland. Shortlisted authors receive £500 per book, and the winning author will receive £3,000. THE SCOTTISH TEENAGE BOOK PRIZE 2017 SHORTLIST IS: •           The Last Soldier by Keith Gray (Barrington Stoke) •           Black Cairn Point by Claire McFall (Hot Key Books) •           Silver Skin by Joan Lennon (Birlinn)   FOR ALL PRESS QUERIES, PLEASE CONTACT HELEN CRONEY: helen.croney@scottishbooktrust.com – 0131 524 0175 or 07751 69 58 54 ROB MCDOUGALL - PHOTOGRAPHER info@robmcdougall.com +0044 7856 222 103 www.robmcdougall.com COPYRIGHT ROB MCDOUGALL 2016 - NO SALES

MANDATORY CREDIT: ROB MCDOUGALL
STUDENTS FROM LIBERTON HIGH SCHOOL IN EDINBURGH:
REBECCA, 16 (DENIM JACKET), CHARLIE, 16 (DUNGAREES AND TARTAN SHIRT), GUY, 13 (DARK HAIR, BLUE HOODY), ROBERT, 13 (BLONDE HAIR, GREY SHIRT), ANDREA, 13 (GREY HOODY, RED JEANS).
The prize, set up to celebrate the most popular teen books by Scottish authors, is run by Scottish Book Trust with support from Creative Scotland. Shortlisted authors receive £500 per book, and the winning author will receive £3,000.
THE SCOTTISH TEENAGE BOOK PRIZE 2017 SHORTLIST IS:
• The Last Soldier by Keith Gray (Barrington Stoke)
• Black Cairn Point by Claire McFall (Hot Key Books)
• Silver Skin by Joan Lennon (Birlinn)
FOR ALL PRESS QUERIES, PLEASE CONTACT HELEN CRONEY: helen.croney@scottishbooktrust.com – 0131 524 0175 or 07751 69 58 54
ROB MCDOUGALL – PHOTOGRAPHER
info@robmcdougall.com
+0044 7856 222 103
www.robmcdougall.com
COPYRIGHT ROB MCDOUGALL 2016 – NO SALES

Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award

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The Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award is a joint venture between the School Library Association and the CILIP School Libraries Group. As well as promoting the work and achievements of pupils within their school libraries, work which involves dedication and commitment but which often goes unnoticed and unrewarded, it also highlights the benefits and values of the school librarian.

Do you have a pupil librarian who could become the Pupil Librarian of the Year 2017?

Someone who is reliable, volunteers regularly and who has made a difference to the library, being a role model for others?

Someone who is an example of the synergy between a school library and the pupils?

Why not nominate them?

Watch out for more details when the award opens on September 19th …
The award is supported by a number of leading children’s books publishers and the company, Authors Aloud UK, and judged by a panel of leading figures from the children’s book world and school library community.

For further information including nomination forms, contact details and sponsorship: http://libpupilaward.wixsite.com/home

About the CILIP School Libraries Group

The School Libraries Group (SLG) of CILIP affirms that school libraries and school library services are fundamental to the development of a literate population able to participate fully in a thriving democracy, culture, civilization and economy. www.cilip.org.uk/slg

About the School Library Association

The School Library Association is an independent charity that believes that every pupil is entitled to effective school library provision. The SLA is committed to supporting everyone involved with school libraries, promoting high quality reading and learning opportunities for all. Website: www.sla.org.uk

Hilda and the Stone Forest: Chatting to a Pearson of Interest

Hi Luke, welcome to Teen librarian and thank you for giving up your time for this interview!
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I grew up reading Tintin and later got into Asterix and since them Hilda is the first graphic album I actively get excited about when I hear about a new volume being released – what inspired her creation?

The initial inspiration was Scandinavian folk tales. I really like the kind of strange, low-key stories, where the existence of creatures like elves and trolls is taken as matter-of-fact and the stories told very plainly. I wanted to create a world and cast of characters that would let me capture the feeling I got reading those stories.

I wanted the world to look like some of the places I visited on a holiday to Norway with my family, where I guess a lot of the early ideas I had took shape. I love Tove Jansson and the Moomin stories and that was very much on my mind at the start. I did read a lot of Asterix as a kid (I have to admit I always found Tintin kind of boring) and when the series moved to the ‘album’ format, I more consciously looked to that as an influence, though probably only visually.

Hilda and the Stone Forest is my new favourite book of her adventures (but I have thought that with each book I have read), the chase scene at the beginning is a masterclass in conveying speed in a static medium – how long did it take you to draw the first six pages?

I really can’t remember how long I spent on those particular pages. I stop and start a lot and there can be a long time between planning a page and drawing the final, which both feel like part of the same process. They were probably the most carefully planned out though and also probably my favourite pages in the book. They’re not vital to the story but I had a really strong idea about how I wanted the book to start, throwing you straight into the middle of one of one of her escapades, to set the pace and to give a sense of the life she’s living right now.

Sticking with movement for the next few questions I am really looking forward to the animated series in 2018! How long has this been developing?

It’s been on the cards since 2014, maybe a bit earlier. Work on the actual series only really began this year though.

Will the animated series be based on the Hilda books or will we discover a whole range of new adventures starring our favourite blue-haired girl?

Both! The series spans the events of the books so far, with new stories in between. With the exception of The Stone Forest all the books are covered. They’ve been adapted so things have shifted around and changed somewhat (for instance the events of Hilda and the Troll are merged into the Midnight Giant episodes) but it’s basically all there. Actually there are very few scenes or elements that haven’t made it into the series in some form. Some of the most incidental stuff has survived and even been fleshed out.
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Are you involved in the creation of the animated series in any way?

Yes, quite a lot actually. I was there to help come up with the new stories and I’ve been overseeing just about everything coming in. Giving notes and feedback on all the scripts and designs. I’m writing the scripts for two episodes. I’m providing designs and sketches for new characters. I’ll be doing some storyboarding.
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I love Hilda’s mum’s involvement in the latest adventure, as a relatively new parent I found the cliff-hanger to be really shocking – will we have to wait long for the second part of the story and can you share the title or is that still top secret?

Not as long as between this one and the last! With any luck it’ll be next year. I don’t want to leave people too concerned for too long and obviously I have the benefit of knowing exactly where the story is going this time. I can’t share the title I’m afraid because I haven’t decided on it yet.

I am looking forward to sharing Hilda’s adventures with my daughter when she is old enough – are there any comic series that you enjoy that you can recommend for Hildafans?

I’m really not sure what I’d suggest for younger readers, because I don’t really look at much in that age bracket. But for older kids looking onwards and upwards I’d recommend comics by Vera Brosgol, Isabel Greenberg, Noelle Stevenson and the Spera series. And for all ages I would always recommend the Moomin books and picture books (maybe save the comics for later.)
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You are probably too busy writing and illustrating but do you ever visit schools or library groups to talk about your art?

I tend not to as I’m not very comfortable talking in front of people. Occasionally I’ll end up doing something like that and it’s always very pleasant and gratifying. But it wreaks too much havoc on my nerves.

Thank you again for answering the questions and thank you also for two* of the greatest female protagonists in a comic medium!

*Hilda’s mum is also amazing

You’re welcome!

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