Author Archives: Mattlibrarian

The Hand of an Angel

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How to be a Lion by Ed Vere

Meet Leonard – a lion like no other. Leonard doesn’t like to raw and chomp. Leonard likes to read and daydream on his thinking hill.

Leonard’s best friend is Marianne, a duck. But lions chomp ducks, don’t they? But Leonard doesn’t want to chomp Marianne!
 
Leonard and Marianne work together to write a special poem to show the other fierce lions that just because lions are supposed to be fierce, it doesn’t mean they have to be.

How to be a Lion is beautiful – this should come as no surprise as Ed Vere is always a phenomenal artist, but his words can stand on their own and they form a beautiful meditation on the power of being different, ignoring the herd (in this case the pride) and being true to your beliefs, yourself and your friends; and in knowing that tough decisions do not have to be faced alone.

As the cool, young kids of today say this book gave me all the feels!

It is usually extremely hard to find a picture book of the year but for me, I think, it may be How to be a Lion!

How to be a Lion is written and illustrated by Ed Vere, published by Puffin Books and will be available in all good bookshops on the 28th June.

Whatever Happened to the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals?

The Time: Next week?

The Place: Austerity UK

When the last Libraries closed and the final Librarians and Library workers packed off the retraining facilities or retired it was realised that the minute savings made from destroying the public library service made no impact on reducing the deficit or ending austerity.

Still every little helps (or not as the case may be)
 
CILIP quietly disbanded the YLG and felt guilty about it, without Children’s & Young Peoples Librarians there were no facilitators, no organisers, no judges so the awards just did not happen. There was shock and disbelief that awards with such a prestigious and high profile history could end but what could one do? The librarians were just not there anymore – who knew this could happen?
 
Oh sure there were a few protests and people shouting about how important they were but apart from a few column inches here and blog posts there they just faded into history.
 
Without authors and illustrators there would be no need for the Awards, but without Librarians there would be no Awards.

That may be the future but it is not this day!

Today the CKG Medal winners are announced, the 81st CILIP Carnegie Medal will be awarded to the most outstanding book for children and young people and the 61st Kate Greenaway Medal will be awarded to the most outstanding illustrated work.

It is amazing, for years I have been fascinated by the Medals and then I was selected to join the Judging Panel and became one of a select few to see behind the curtain and now I am more engaged with the awards than ever before! Knowing how much work, dedication and personal sacrifice goes in to running and judging the awards is mind-boggling.

Seriously if you want to know more about how the awards function then get hold of a judge and speak to them! You will learn that Librarians are Super Heores!

The fact that the awards are run wholly and solely by librarians is often overlooked, and in the current era of cuts and closures this makes them vulnerable. The threat is very real, and the loss of prestigious awards such as the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals is something that could be used by Library Activists protesting the ongoing loss and deprofessionalisation of Libraries in the UK.

That, however is a consideration for Tuesday morning, for today is a day for celebrating literature, reading, authors and librarians!

If you excited about the 81st CILIP Carnegie Medal and the 61st CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal recipients then you can watch live here: http://carnegiegreenawauk/sty.org.ream.php from 12pm and join the celebrations on social media using the #CKG18 hashtag.

#TeenLibrarian Monthly June 2018

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LGBTQ+ Books: a List

A selection of picture books, fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels featuring LGBTQ+ characters in either main or supporting roles.

Usual caveats apply: there are many more titles available, but these are books that I have in my library collection and I do recommend them. If anyone would like to recommend additional titles, then please leave a comment below.

Picture Books

  • Pride the story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders & Steven Salerno
  • A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill twiss & E.G. Keller
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell & Henry Cole
  • The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith
  • Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton and Dougal MacPherson
  •  
    Fiction

  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
  • The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Kaleidoscope Song by Fox Benwell
  • Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman
  • The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Undone by Cat Clarke
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post Emily M. Danforth
  • Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
  • If You Could be Mine by Sara Farizan
  • Tessa Masterton Will Go to Prom by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
  • Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green
  • Skylarks by Karen Gregory
  • Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler
  • Pantomime by Laura Lam
  • Boy Meets Boy
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

  • A Line in the Dark
  • Ash
  • Huntress by Malinda Lo
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Lee Mackenzie
  • The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here
  • Release by Patrick Ness
  • Things a Bright Girl can Do by Sally Nicholls
  • Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
  • Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
  • Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
  • Playing the Oart by Daria Wilke translated by Marian Schwarz
     
    Graphic Novels
     

  • Giant Days by John Allison
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  • The Authority by Warren Ellis & Bryan Hitch
  • Death: The High Cost of Living
  • Death: The Time of Your Life by Neil Gaiman & Chris Bachalo
  • The Wicked + The Divine
  • Young Avengers by Kieran Gillen & Jamie McKelvie
  • Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  • The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Purvis
  • Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka & J.H. Williams III
  • Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn Allen & Shannon Watters
  • Skim by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki
  • Supergirl: Being Super by Mariko Tamaki & Joëlle Jones
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  • Pedro and Me by Judd Winick
  •  
    Non-Fiction

  • Issues: Sexuality and Gender edited by Cara Acred
  • How to Transform your School into an LGBTQ+ Friendly Place: a Practical Guide for Nursery, Primary and Secondary Teachers by Dr Elly Barnes MBE and Dr Anna Carlile
  • Queer : the ultimate LGBT guide for teens by Kathy Belge
  • This Book is Gay
  • The Gender Games by Juno Dawson
  • From Ace to Ze: The Little Book of LGBT Terms by Harriet Dyer
  • LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That are Actually Funny by Alisha Gaddis
  • Understanding Sexuality: what it means to be Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual
  • Understanding Transgender by Honor Head
  • GLBTQ: the Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Teens by Kenny Huegel
  • From Prejudice to Pride: a History of the LGBTQ+ Movement by Amy Lamé
  • Identity and Gender by Charlie Ogden
  • Straight talk About… Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity by Rachel Stuckey
  • Home Boys ~ Alex Wheatle

    home boys.jpgFour friends decide to run away from the horror of their everyday lives in a children’s home in the English countryside. They head for the woods, their sense of freedom surprises them, and for the first time they feel the exhilaration of adolescence. Yet the forest slowly asserts its own power and what happens there will affect the four boys’ lives forever.

    My initial reaction when picking up Home Boys was the thought that this was going to be an upsetting read with no joy or redemption contained within the pages. I was wrong! Home Boys is bleak and hard to read, but it is also a beautifully written, opening with grief and loss in the mid 1980’s as we are introduced the major players of this drama it then dives further back the 1970’s where the boys’ story begins. As hard and uncompromising as it was, Home Boys ends on a note of hope that I did not see coming, friendships and love built over years endure beyond what many people expect and continues past the story ending.

    Alex Wheatle, always a gripping writer has given us an important work about life as a kid in care in the 1970’s and how brutality and abuse within the system can continue to distort and destroy lives down the years. Where Home Boys shines are in the interactions between the friends, capturing the love, anger, growing tensions and everything else that bubbles up within adolescent peer groups.

    Wheatle weaves in the overt racism of the 1970’s and does not shy away from the language and brutality that still lingers just beneath the surface of society to this day. Home Boys is an important read – to help us face the cruelty and mistreatment that was prevalent in many care homes of the recent past, as well as the abuses people of colour still face to this day.

    Home Boys by Alex Wheatle is published by Arcadia books and is available now

    Judge Read: The Shadowing

    I have been working on a Judge Dredd/CKG parody mash-up for the past few years. Today I am proud to unveil the first, and probably only Judge Read adventure:

    Disclaimer: Judge Dredd is published weekly in the 2000AD Comic and is © Rebellion.
    Judge Dredd was created by John Wagner (writer) Carlos Ezquerra (artist) & Pat Mills (editor)

    Engaging Students using Technology in the Library with Lucas Maxwell

    The Third Degree with Catherine Johnson

    Hi Catherine, welcome to TeenLibrarian and thank you for giving up your time to undergo the third degree…

    You have a new book coming out soon – Freedom, based in England at the time of the Zong trial. Can you tell me more about the book?

    It’s one of a series published by Scholastic that looks at major turning points in history. I was asked to do abolition (of slavery) but I argued that since that took at least fifty years – the mind of the british public was very slow to change – I would do one of the things that kicked off that change. And I was aware loads of people had heard of Wilberforce but maybe that fewer people had heard of the Sons of Africa, a group of campaigning Black Britons, freed slaves, American veterans of the War of Independence, and others who worked to end the inhumanity of slavery.

    The blurb taught me something new – much like Nathaniel I was always under the impression that once a slave set foot on English soil he was free, but after the blurb I looked it up and according to English common law while technically no longer a slave they were still bound to their masters until the abolition of the slave trade. Why do you think that a majority of people in the UK are ignorant of whole swathes of UK history except on a superficial level?

    Er- Brexit is a prime example of this. We forget the ends of our own noses! I think every nation likes to tell its own story, and as a woman who grew up with 3 TV channels and endless WW2 films the story of Britains’ exceptionalism is the one we English like best. We say ‘Britain stood alone’, but conveniently forget we had the manpower and resources of India and Pakistain, many African countries, Canada, Australia and the Caribbean to call on. We often forget this too.

    Once they have read Freedom can you recommend other sources for people to find out more information about the Zong massacre and the trial that followed? I first heard about it during the film Belle – a fictionalised account of the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle the niece of Lord Mansfield who ruled on the case.

    Yes! It’s in Belle isn’t it! For anyone wanting to read more I’d recommend David Olusoga’s Black and British which is very accessible and also very interesting. Also Peter Fryer’s Staying Power.

    I have been a fan of your books for years (since Nest of Vipers when you visited one of my reading groups in Edmonton Green), The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo and Sawbones are two of my favourites – it is so refreshing to read historical fiction that has not been white-washed. How much research do you do before you start writing?

    I have read and written so much about the 18th century now (and a TV series which got optioned but never made set in 1790s and also a BBC2 docu/drama with Simon Schama called Rough Crossings that was on telly almost 10 years ago, that it’s a question of pulling out all the books. I love London maps of the time too. I like to see where my characters go. I lived very near where Loddiges’ Nursery used to be in East London.

    The #OwnVoices movement in the UK is becoming bigger than ever before – are there any books by BAME authors that you can recommend?

    Loads! For picture books I’d recommend Ken Wilson Max and Yasmin Shireen, of and I loved John Agard’s Come All You Little Persons illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle, and Chitra Soundar’s work too. for first readers I love Atinuke’s Number One Car Spotter series. Other authors include the wonderful Patrice Lawrence, Bali Rai, Irfan Master, Muhammad Khan, Sarwat Chadda, Alex Wheatle and Sita Bramachari. Oh and Savita Kalhan and of course the perenially wonderful Malorie Blackman. And look out for a new UKYA by Danielle Jawando and Aisha Busby, two fresh new voices coming next year.

    Do you still visit libraries or schools? If you do what is the best way to get hold of you to organise a visit?

    Yes! I am all over the place very often! Contact me via my agent, Stephanie Thwaite at Curtis Brown, or via my Twitter account @catwrote

    Lovely to chat Matt!

    To find out more about Catherine Johnson and her books, visit her website: http://catherinejohnson.co.uk

    Learn more about the Zong Massacre and the subsequent trial here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zong_massacre

    Freedom is published by Scholastic and will be out in August

    30 Days of Wild

    This June the UK Wildlife Trusts are encouraging people to make room for nature, if you register they will send you a pack full of ideas, encouragement and Random Acts of Wildness. You’ll also receive a funky wallchart to track your progress, a wild badge, and regular blasts of inspiration throughout June to help you make nature part of your life.
    Now for many librarians during the day at work the closest we get to nature is shooing out wasps, bumblebees and the occasional panicked pigeon that fly in to the library.
    However we can participate by signing up and encouraging the people that use the library to do random acts of wildness and enjoy the nature that surrounds us.
    I have a number of books on ecology and being a nature detective that I will be using for a display, and of course I will take my daughter out to wander in the woods and discover the wondrous creatures that we live next door to!
    To find out more and sign up, visit: www.mywildlife.org.uk/30dayswild/