Category Archives: News

Love Your School Library Service Day


Books in Your Classroom

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Curriculum Resources

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Access to a Library Management System

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The School Library Award (accredited by ASCEL, SLG and SLA)

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Setting Up Your School Library

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When you don’t like the story the world is telling you, tell a different story.

50 leading authors and illustrators have come together to produce a crowd-funded collection of stories, poetry and artwork with all profits going to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

Alt-Write: creative reactions to uncertain times is a collection of new previously unpublished stories*, poems and illustrations from leading names in the children’s book world.

The past year has delivered a tumultuous series of world events that has left people reeling. Authors and illustrators asked themselves what they could do to help and the answer was to do what we do best, to write and draw and create.

When you don’t like the story the world is telling, tell a different story.

Our role is to debunk xenophobic myths and make people think, help them discover the natural human quality of empathy.
Alan Gibbons, author

It’s wonderful that so many great literary voices are contributing their creativity and compassion to this project, and showing that they stand with refugees
Laura Padoan, a spokesperson for UNHCR.

Contributors to this new collection include

  • Carnegie award-winning author Frank Cottrell Boyce
  • Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy
  • Scottish Makar and Guardian-award winning poet Jackie Kay
  • Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Older Children 2017 and The Bookseller prize, Patrice Lawrence
  • Rising star and multiple award winning illustrator Sarah McIntyre
  • Carnegie and Guardian prize winning novelist Susan Price
  • Former Children’s Laureate and three-times winner of the Kate Greenaway award, Chris Riddell
  • Celebrated poet and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen.
  • Best-selling illustrator Nick Sharratt
  • Guardian prize winning novelist and poet, Alex Wheatle the Brixton Bard
  • Winner of a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, Jane Yolen
  • And a host of other leading, award-winning and talented authors and illustrators
     
    In the first week of our campaign
     

  • 8 of our authors have been nominated for this year’s Carnegie award and 1 for the Greenaway award. They are: Alan Gibbons, Mary Hoffman, Patrice Lawrence, Tanya Landman, Irfan Master, Michael Rosen, Chris Priestley, Alex Wheatle and Jane Ray.
  • Neil Gaiman and Cory Doctorow have both tweeted about the book
  • 2 of our illustrators (Chris Riddell and John Shelley) have been nominated for the Astrid Lingren Memorial Award
     
    What’s new
     

  • Original Jane Ray artwork as a crowd-funding reward.
  • Promotional video from Alex Wheatle reading his hard-hitting new poem And I Still Hear Nina Singing Mississipi Goddam
     
    The #altwrite team
     
    Editors Mary Hoffman and Rhiannon Lassiter are a mother and daughter team with a proven track record in publishing. In 2003 they co-edited Lines in the Sand: New writing on war and peace published by Frances Lincoln in the UK and The Disinformation Press in the US. All the contributors’ royalties and the publishers’ profits went to UNICEF’s emergency appeal for the children of Iraq.
     
    Links
     
    Campaign page on IndieGoGo: http://igg.me/at/alt-write
    Website: http://www.alt-write.org
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/altwriteproject

  • Hay Levels series 3 launches: Free video resources for A Level students

    World-leading writers and thinkers have joined together to launch the third series of Hay Levels: an inspiring, free series of educational videos from Hay Festival in which experts from a range of disciplines offer inspiration for A Level students, including Michael Rosen, Marcus du Sautoy, Laura Bates, Sarah Churchwell, Lawrence Krauss, Sir Nicholas Hytner, Colm Toíbín, Philippe Sands, Janina Ramirez, Anne-Marie Imafiddon, Robbert Dijkgraaf, Dr Kourosh Saeb Parsy, James Holland, Dr Helen Rappaport, Dr Gabrielle Walker, Dr Oscar Guardioula-Rievera, Gilliant Tett, Jerry Brotton, Alexander Todorov, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, Carlo Rovelli, Dame Nemat Shafik, Dame Athene Donald and Catherine Barnard.

    Matched to current A Level subject curricula, Hay Levels are video masterclasses given by the world’s greatest teachers, thinkers and writers. From the black holes to the Great War to the big thaw, from Frankenstein to immunity to globalisation, and from sex to cosmology to crime; Hay Levels offer bite-size inspiration for curious students.

    Videos will be released fortnightly throughout the school year on the Hay Levels YouTube channel (subscribe here) and shared across social media (#HayLevels), supplementing the growing bank of content already available online.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/HayLevels
    Hay Levels is a joint collaboration between Hay Festival and Hereford Sixth Form College, in partnership with the Tata group, giving students open access to some of the most renowned experts in their fields.

    The first release of videos this academic year features:

  • Rosalind Rickaby on chemical equilibrium
  • Lawrence Krauss on cosmology
  • Marcus du Sautoy on algebra
  • Sarah Churchwell on Edith Wharton
  • Sir Nicholas Hytner on Hamlet
  • Michael Rosen on Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Pardoner’s Tale
  • Lord Digby Jones on profit
  • Catherine Barnard on Brexit
  • Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE on binary numbers
  • Philippe Sands on international crime
  • Peter Singer on utilitarianism
  •  Now in its third year, the Hay Levels project was inspired after mathematician Marcus du Sautoy gave an impromptu masterclass to a group of A Level students on his way to speak at Hay Festival. Since then, speakers appearing at Hay Festival events in Wales and around the world have been invited to contribute to the growing bank of free resources online.

    Peter Florence, Director of Hay Festival, said: Our work to bring writers and readers together in conversations and debate continues to develop digitally. Hay Levels extend the great breadth of knowledge of Hay Festival experts to A Level students across the country. We hope they will be widely used and shared and are deeply grateful to these fabulous academics that have supported us so far. And, of course, while these resources have been designed with A Level students in mind, it’s not to say everyone can’t learn something from them.

    Dr David Landsman OBE, Executive Director of the Tata group, said: “Tata shares Hay Festival’s commitment to education and skills and we are proud to partner with the Hay Levels for the third time this year. Education is key to success in everything Tata does, which is why we are continuously investing in skills, not only for our companies, but also in the communities we work in. We hope that that this year’s videos will help to inspire and educate the engineers, business leaders, academics and creative thinkers of the future.”

    Highlights from the first two series of Hay Levels include: Sarah Churchwell on Gatsby; David Crystal on Pragmatics; Richard Dawkins on Irreducible Complexity; Stephen Fry on Exam Tips; Angie Hobbs on Platonic Ethics and Laura Bates on Rape.

    Hay Levels is part of the wider Hay Festival education work, which includes free Schools Days programming, Hay Academy, and Hay Compass.

    For more information on Hay Levels or Hay Festival, please visit hayfestival.org.

    Is It A Plane? Is It A Library? No It’s A Flybrary!

    EASYJET’S BOOK CLUB LIFTS OFF TO GET CHILDREN HOOKED ON A BOOK THIS SUMMER

  • easyJet launches new initiative to encourage children to get into a good book by installing holiday reading libraries across its entire UK fleet this summer
  • Campaign follows research by easyJet, which reveals that over 8 in 10 British parents (83%) say children are reading less in comparison to when they were younger
  • Campaign ambassador and leading children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson has selected books for kids to enjoy in-flight
  • Children’s classics including; Peter Pan, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, The Railway Children and The Wizard of Oz, will be made available in passenger seat-pockets
  • The easyJet Book Club will see seven thousand copies of the books take to the skies as 147 ‘Flybraries’ lift off today
  • Statistics from the Department of Education show that one in five children in England cannot read well by the age of 11*
  • Figures from the National Foundation of Education Research show most children in England do not read on a daily basis with just over a third (37%) of 10 year-olds surveyed reported reading for pleasure every day**
  • easyJet launch new 'Flybraries' from Taylor Herring on Vimeo.

    LONDON, Tuesday 18th July 2017: Europe’s leading airline easyJet have launched a new initiative today to launch ‘Flybraries’ (flying libraries) following new research that suggests that the number of children reading for pleasure is at an all-time low.

    This summer easyJet will fly 750,000 families out of UK airports on their holidays. That means it has a unique opportunity to get kids hooked on a book while they’re on the plane.

    Former Children’s Laureate Dame Jacqueline Wilson, who is supporting the Flybrary campaign designed to promote literacy and encourage kids to read, has selected a range of classic children’s books to be stocked on board that encompass the spirit of travel and adventure. Dame Jacqueline unveiled her selection at the official launch of the Book Club at Gatwick Airport.

    Seven thousand copies of children’s classics including Peter Pan, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, The Wizard Of Oz, and The Railway Children will be made available on easyJet’s UK fleet of 147 aircraft as the new holiday reading campaign takes flight today across European destinations for free. Kids can start reading them on the flight and then when they land download free samples of other classics to try, plus a sample of Wilson’s latest bestseller, Wave Me Goodbye, from easyjet.com/bookclub. Children will leave the books on board for the next passenger to enjoy.

    Speaking at London Gatwick Airport where she launched the initiative, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, whose 106 children’s books have collectively sold over 40 million copies in the UK alone, said: The long summer break is the ideal opportunity for children to get stuck into a great story. Books stimulate a child’s imagination and development. Reading soothes, entertains, grows vocabulary and exercises the mind and a flight is the perfect place to escape into a literary adventure. That’s why I think this campaign is such a clever match. I’ve chosen books that children might not have 
read, but are familiar with, maybe from film and television. I also
wanted stories that would appeal equally to boys and girls.

    easyJet CEO Carolyn McCall said: This summer easyJet will transport three quarters of a million families from UK airports to popular holiday destinations across Europe – the largest number yet due to our range of parent-friendly initiatives to make it easier for parents and kids alike. The launch of our summer kids book club is another initiative designed to make flying with us more fun and help to get kids hooked on a book at the start of the holiday season at the same time. Our in-flight lending library means young passengers can pick up a brilliant book during their flight and then return it to the seat pocket at the end of the flight for the next customer to enjoy onboard. We think it will be popular with parents and children alike.

    The initiative follows research by easyJet who polled 2,000 British parents with children aged 8 – 12, which reveals that over 8 in 10 parents (83%) say children are reading less in comparison to when they were younger. The research reveals that kids are reading an average of three books over the course of their entire summer holidays, in contrast to an average of four books which their parents would have devoured at the same age – a drop of 25% over the course of a generation.

    The study found that the majority of respondents (84%) agreed that people tended to read more for pleasure 25 years ago than they do today, due to us living in a fast moving digital world with endless entertainment options. The research reveals a seismic shift in reading across generations, with the decline in the number of books being read by children today attributed to the vast choice of entertainment available to them on digital devices.

    Statistics from the Department of Education show that one in five children in England cannot read well by the age of 11*. Figures from the National Foundation of Education Research show most children in England do not read on a daily basis with just over a third (37%) of 10 year-olds surveyed reported reading for pleasure every day**.

    Gatwick Airport’s Head of Terminals & Passenger Services Nikki Barton said: We are right behind this brilliant summer initiative by easyJet and were honoured to welcome Dame Jacqueline to Gatwick to launch the Book Club and sign some of her books for our younger passengers. There’s nothing like a great book, and kids heading off to the many holiday destinations served by easyJet from Gatwick this summer will certainly have plenty to keep them amused on-board.

    Of those surveyed, nine in ten parents (90%) said that they believed the breadth of electronic entertainment devices available to children has led to a decline in reading for pleasure.

    Questioned on why they believe this trend has occurred, over a half (57%) said it was due to an increase of availability of digital devices from a young age.

    Furthermore, of those surveyed eight in ten (80%) believe that the widespread presence of digital entertainment has had an adverse effect on literacy levels. Over half (53%) of British parents charted the rise of ‘digital devices’ (smartphones and tablets) as a reason for the decline in children reading for pleasure on holiday.

    * Statistics from the Department of Education show that one in five children in England cannot read well by the age of 11 – https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/409409/Reading_the_next_steps.pdf

    **Figures from the National Foundation of Education Research show most children in England do not read on a daily basis: in 2011 just over a third (37%) of 10 year-olds surveyed reported reading for pleasure every day- https://www.nfer.ac.uk/publications/PRTZ01/PRTZ01.pdf

    Launching the Bent Agency BAME scholarship

    Open for submissions until midnight Saturday 26th August 2017!

    The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is hosting its annual conference in the UK on 25th – 26th November 2017. It is entitled Seriously Funny: Bringing a Lighter Side to All Scribbles & Doodles During talks and workshops, it will offer writers and illustrators the chance to hone their craft and gain insight into the children’s publishing industry.

    As in previous years, two conference scholarships will continue to run in memory of Margaret Carey, children’s writer and illustrator and SCBWI British Isles volunteer, in the following two categories:

  • fiction author (Young Adult or Middle Grade)
  • picture book author or illustrator
  •  
    This year an ADDITIONAL scholarship, generously sponsored by the Bent Agency, will be awarded in the following category:

  • BAME author (Young Adult or Middle Grade)
  •  
    Each scholarship covers the cost of the conference attendance, a 1-1 manuscript critique with an editor, art director or agent*, hotel accommodation, and a grant towards travel to Winchester, where the conference will take place.

    The BAME scholarship winner’s manuscript critique will be with an agent from the Bent Agency. The Bent Agency will also pay for a year’s SCBWI membership.

    Molly Ker Hawn from the Bent Agency said:
    We at TBA are delighted to be involved in SCBWI-BI’s effort to encourage BAME writers. It’s important to us that all children can find books in which they can see themselves, and that won’t happen without diverse authors.

    Natascha Biebow and Kathy Evans, Co-Chairs of the SCBWI British Isles, said:
    The SCBWI-BI are proud to be part of this important initiative alongside the Bent Agency to support under-represented BAME children’s book authors. SCBWI’s international professional network and the development opportunities afforded by the annual conference have made a significant difference to SCBWI members’ careers and we are excited that we will be part of the scholarship winner’s journey to publication.

    Who can apply?

    For the Margaret Carey scholarships: Current members of SCBWI British Isles who seek professional development and show great promise in their work, but who are financially unable to come to the SCBWI BI annual conference, may apply. Unfortunately, we cannot consider applications from other SCBWI regions.

    For the Bent Agency BAME scholarship:

    Both SCBWI and non-SCBWI member BAME writers, resident in the British Isles, may apply. BAME is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as “black, Asian and minority ethnic (used to refer to members of non-white communities in the UK)”. If the winner is already a SCBWI member, their membership will be extended by one year.

    SCBWI members may apply for both the Margaret Carey scholarships and the BAME scholarship if they are eligible.

    Submissions will be accepted until 26th August 2017. There is no submission fee. Applicants for all scholarships can be unpublished, self-published or may previously have been traditionally published, though applicants for the BAME scholarship must be unagented. Each submission will be judged solely on the work submitted and its potential, and the statement supplied.

    For further details on submission visit: http://britishisles.scbwi.org/conference2017/scholarship/

    BOOK PEOPLE REVEALS CLAUDIA WINKLEMAN AS HEAD JUDGE OF 2017 BEDTIME STORY COMPETITION

  • TV star set to front campaign encouraging entries to second edition of nationwide Bedtime Story competition
  • Book People will once again ask children to create a picture book of 200-800 words for a perfect bedtime read
  • Claudia will host with a live video event on Book People’s Facebook page on 19 July
  •  
    Leading direct bookseller Book People has revealed that one of the UK’s best known broadcasters, Claudia Winkleman, will be the head judge for its latest Bedtime Story competition. Accompanying Claudia on the judging panel will be broadcaster and children’s book author, Christian O’Connell and top illustrator Alison Brown.
     
    The nationwide competition challenges young authors aged between five and 11 to create a picture book on the theme of friendship. The winner will become a published author, with their book illustrated by Alison Brown, and published by Little Tiger.
     
    This summer the competition returns with Claudia Winkleman fronting the campaign to encourage primary school aged children to create their own stories on the theme of friendship. The Strictly presenter will host a live video event with illustrator Alison Brown on Book People’s Facebook page on Wednesday 19 July, and will lead the judging panel that picks the overall competition winner.
     
    The Bedtime Story competition is now in its second year, and follows the June publication of London schoolgirl Isabel Harris’ book, The Moon Man, which won the inaugural contest after being chosen from more than 1,000 entries last year. Since going on sale on 1 June, the book has also become Book People’s fastest selling title of 2017 so far.
     
    On becoming head judge for this year’s Bedtime Story campaign, Claudia said:
    I’m delighted to be involved in Book People’s fantastic Bedtime Story competition. I have always made a special effort to instil a love of books in my children, and encourage their imagination and creativity through reading and writing. This competition is a brilliant chance for children to let their imaginations run wild and immerse themselves in a fun and exciting project. I can’t wait to help encourage lots of kids to get involved and see the stories they create.
     
    Speaking about his involvement in this year’s campaign, Christian O’Connell said:
    I’m really looking forward to being on the judging panel for the upcoming Bedtime Story Competition. Having my own children’s book published was an amazing moment in my career, so to be able to be involved in helping a budding young author have their work come to life makes this a brilliant project to be a part of.
     
    Sarah Walden, Book People Group Buying and Merchandising Director, commented:
    We’re very pleased to launch Bedtime Story competition once more with Claudia and Christian on board as our ambassadors. We were blown away by the quality of the writing and imagination shown in last year’s Bedtime Story competition and we’re looking forward to making this year’s version even bigger and better.
     
    Book People will launch 2017’s Bedtime Story Competition on 10 July with entries open until 2 October this year. To register your interest in entering this year’s competition please visit thebookpeople.co.uk/bedtimestory.

    Bravereader: Celebrating the News about the Scottish School Library Development Strategy

    Today the news broke that owing to a sustained campaign by dedicated school library campaigners, the Scottish government has agreed to work on developing a school library strategy.

    Full details are available on the CILIP Scotland site here:
    http://www.cilips.org.uk/development-school-library-strategy-begin-autumn/

    To celebrate I threw together this poster riffing off Braveheart:

    If you wish to download a pdf, click on the image above.

    Mark Hamill tweeted my Star Wars Poster

    I am not normally inclined towards bragging (usually – when awesome things happen I can’t help it) but yesterday the National Library of Scotland tweeted one of my Star Wars posters at Mark Hamill and he retweeted it with a message of support for Libraries.

    So of course I have to share them here:

    LAUREN CHILD ANNOUNCED AS 10th WATERSTONES CHILDREN’S LAUREATE


    Charlie and Lola author says, “children today need more freedom to dream and imagine”

    Lauren Child, artist and highly-acclaimed author and illustrator of the bestselling and award-winning Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean picture books and Ruby Redfort novels, has today (Wednesday 7 June) been crowned the 10th Waterstones Children’s Laureate. Child was presented with her medal from outgoing Waterstones Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell at an afternoon ceremony at City Hall in Hull, which is UK City of Culture 2017.

    The role of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate is awarded every two years to an eminent author or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field and recognise the important contribution children’s literature makes to cultural life.

    Child, a former artist’s assistant to Damien Hirst, is celebrated not only for creating her own books, but translating them into other media – most significantly in her role as associate producer of global hit television series Charlie and Lola. Launching her laureateship by championing creativity, she said: “I want to inspire children to believe in their own creative potential, to make their own stories and drawings and ignite in them the delight of reading for pleasure. In an increasingly fast paced world, children need the freedom to dream and imagine; to enjoy reading, drawing and telling their own stories without value judgement or restraint”. She intends to encourage individuality and creativity in children by seeding ideas throughout her tenure that spark stories and drawings and to “celebrate random acts of imagination”.

    Recognising the legacy of the role she is inheriting, Child said: I am honoured to be chosen as the Waterstones Children’s Laureate and proud to be following in the illustrious footsteps of such giants of literature as Sir Quentin Blake, continuing the League of Laureates’ great work in elevating the status of children’s books in the UK’s cultural landscape. She revealed plans to forge alliances with other expressive mediums during her term in office, saying: My books have taken inspiration from many different art forms – from the illustrations of E.H. Shepard through Scandinavian Design, dolls houses and miniatures as well as the films of Woody Allen and Alfred Hitchcock. Now I would like to focus on building stronger links between the world of children’s literature and other art forms such as fine art, film, music, television and design.

    Child was presented with the specially commissioned solid silver Waterstones Children’s Laureate medal and a £15,000 bursary cheque by outgoing Laureate, Chris Riddell. Ceremony host was CBBC Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya, one of the selection committee of the 2017 – 2019 Laureate, alongside Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Children’s Buyer at Waterstones Florentyna Martin and all members of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group.

    Chair of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group, Abigail Campbell said: Lauren Child is utterly brilliant. Loved by adults as well as children, her work is witty, innovative and absolutely unique. We’re thrilled to announce her as the 10th Waterstones Children’s Laureate.

    The post of Children’s Laureate was established in 1999. Previous Laureates are: Quentin Blake 1999 – 2001, Anne Fine 2001 – 2003, Michael Morpurgo 2003 – 2005, Jacqueline Wilson 2005 – 2007, Michael Rosen 2007 – 2009, Anthony Browne 2009 – 2011, Julia Donaldson 2011 – 2013, Malorie Blackman 2013 – 2015, Chris Riddell 2015 – 2017. Lauren Child is the 2017-2019 incumbent, with her tenure ending in June 2019, the 20th anniversary year of the post.

    Waterstones is the lead sponsor of the Children’s Laureate post, with other sponsorship and funding coming from children’s publishers and Arts Council England. Independent literature charity BookTrust continues to manage the award.

    Waterstones MD James Daunt comments on Child’s appointment: Children’s books are in the rudest of health, with sales charging ahead and children’s sections annexing ever greater parts of bookshops. Vital to our industry, there is a wave of creativity, spurred by exceptionally talented and generous authors with the Waterstones Children’s Laureate playing a huge part as a catalyst and inspiration. We could not be more delighted and grateful than to have Lauren Child pick up this baton.

    BookTrust’s Chief Executive Diana Gerald said: Managing the Waterstones Children’s Laureate is an honour for BookTrust and we are delighted to be working with Lauren Child as Chris Riddell’s successor. Each of the Laureates has been wonderfully different from each other, but they share a core belief, one that underpins BookTrust’s own reason for being, and that is the power of reading, and its capacity to change children’s lives for the better. We want to inspire and unleash the love of reading for pleasure in children everywhere, whatever their background and I am delighted that our new Laureate is someone whose wonderful books and characters have already got so many children excited about reading. I can’t wait to experience the treasures that Lauren will no doubt bring to this role over the next couple of years.

    Child will be returning to Hull later in the month for the opening day of The Big Malarkey, the city’s first children’s literature festival, as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017. She will be in the Big Malarkey Tent on Monday 26 June between 4pm and 5pm to answer questions and sign books.

    Free access to FT.com for Sixth Formers and their Teachers

    The Financial Times and Lloyds Bank are offering free access to the FT.com to UK-based sixth formers and their teachers.

    To register interest and for more information, follow this link:

    https://enterprise.ft.com/en-gb/secondary-schools/