Category Archives: News

Is it time for a New National UK Teen Book Award?

Ever since The Booktrust Teenage Prize folded in 2010 there has been no national award for YA titles published in the UK.

This has been bugging me for a while, and today on twitter I discovered that has been niggling away at others as well.

A while ago I had an idea to run a Teen Book Award through Teen Librarian but shelved it with other thoughts I have that require time and money.

The idea is to run an award where the books are nominated by librarians and then voted on by the readers themselves.

There is a wealth of YA authorial talent in the UK and it should be recognized; the only other national award that comes close is the CILIP Carnegie Award and that is aimed at books for children and teens.

At the moment it is only the germ of an idea so please leave comments in the comment field below with suggestions on partnership, sponsorship and anything that can carry this idea to fruition.

“Every secondary school in the UK should have a good library” – call by MPs and Peers

A new report by Westminster politicians calls for every child in the UK to have a good library in their secondary school.

The Libraries All Party Parliamentary Group’s report calls for the Department for Education to start collecting figures about the number of schools that have a library and librarian, and for Ofsted to look at school library provision when they inspect a school. It is vital that all schools have a good library to ensure children develop essential literacy and digital literacy skills in order to fulfil their potential and to contribute to the success of the UK economy, says the report, The Beating Heart of the School.

See more at:

The Big Idea Competition


Tess Daly joins nationwide search to discover the next big story idea for children

Judged by experts from the book, film, TV and theatre world

Challenging convention on how great ideas become stories today

Britain has created some of the greatest children’s stories in history. From J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the nation has produced ideas that have become part of our cultural heritage and captivated audiences around the world.

Now the search is on to find Britain’s next ‘big idea’ with a major new competition to discover original story ideas for children. The Big Idea will be encouraging the nation to get creative this summer, giving participants the chance to see their ideas nurtured and developed by experts in the world of family entertainment. The competition challenges convention on how ideas can be brought to life and made into new narratives in book, film, TV, theatre or gaming.

The Big Idea is working with six respected judges who have a wealth of relevant industry experience between them:

· Tess Daly – TV broadcaster
· Neil Blair – J.K. Rowling’s agent
· Barry Cunningham OBE – Children’s publisher
· Debra Hayward – Film producer
· Sonia Friedman – Theatre producer
· Philip Ardagh – Children’s author and literary critic

The judges will work together to choose six winning ideas. The winners will each receive £1000 plus the chance to see their idea come to life, with one overall winner offered the prize of a publishing contract and the promise of their idea being nurtured, developed and written by a well-known author. As Neil Blair explains The Big Idea is an exciting new way to bring new children’s stories to life by going to the heart of every one of them: the big idea at their core.

The overall winner’s publishing contract will be in line with industry standards, with a shared royalty on every copy sold. The six winners could additionally see their idea work across a variety of media platforms, including film, TV, gaming, websites, apps and stage, with a commensurate royalty share.

Entering couldn’t be easier, and creative writing ability isn’t a requirement – entrants simply need to outline their original idea in up to 750 words, describing what happens in the story, who’s in it, where it takes place and the type of audience it’s intended for. Entrants can visit the website at for creative advice and look out for top tips and inspiration on The Big Idea’s social media channels. The competition opens on Monday July 7th and the winning ideas will be announced in early November.

Tess Daly adds All the best children’s books come from a great idea, and a great idea can come from anywhere! I’ve joined forces with The Big Idea to celebrate Britain’s talent for storytelling and creativity. There are so many people who have a seed of an idea for a book, film or TV programme but don’t know what to do with it, so this is their chance to get support from the best. I love sharing and making up my own stories with my children – so I can’t wait to help uncover the next big story idea to be loved by adults and children alike.


The Fault In Our Stars has repeated its box office success to top the poll at the Booktrust Best Book Awards

Reality has kicked-in to the usual fantasy world of children’s books with the winning titles, voted for by children themselves, being firmly based on real-life issues.

At a party-style awards ceremony in central London, live streamed to schools and attended by authors and 300 child judges, reading charity Booktrust today (July 2nd) revealed the winners of the first ever Booktrust Best Book Awards with Amazon Kindle, as part of Children’s Book Week 2014.

12,000 schoolchildren nationwide voted for the winning titles to produce a host of superb winners crossing six categories. The winners are a genuinely eclectic mix of literary gold ranging from charming and humorous illustrated reads about the challenges and traumas of everyday life, to gritty coming-of-age stories.

The winners from each category are:


In the youngest age group, the 0-5 Best Picture Book category, Peck Peck Peck by Lucy Cousins topped the children’s vote. Written by the multi-award winning creator of Maisy – which sold more than 28 million copies around the world and even has its own popular TV show – this colourful, interactive story tells the endearing tale of a woodpecker being taught to peck for the first time.


Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastiscame out on top in the 6-8 Best Story group. Coming from the man behind the devoutly followed comic strip Pearls Before Swine, the book features a perfect combination of deadpan humour, visual gags and comic-strip style illustrations to tell the tale of a wannabe middle-school detective.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck, the eighth book of the bestselling series, topped the fictional category. Written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney, the story focuses on protagonist Greg’s difficulty adapting to middle-school after being abandoned by his best friend.


The 9-11 age group was split into two categories – fact and fiction. Winning the factual award was Operation Ouch!: Your Brilliant Body by twins, Doctor Chris and Xand van Tulleken. Based on the popular CBBC TV series, the book mixes mischief with medicine and engaged the children voters with their unique take on biology.


The Fault In Our Stars by American author John Green is a tear-jerking but irreverent and humorous tale of teen love in challenging circumstances. The book’s critical acclaim is that, as well as seeing soaring sales in bookshops, it made a £3.4m debut at the UK box office on its opening weekend, making it this summer’s must-see film. Beautifully written and laced with humour and teen angst, the story follows the cancer ridden lives of teenagers who meet at a cancer support group. This book was a major hit with the judges and dominated the votes for this category.


Celebrating the innovative use of technology in children’s books, Little Red Riding Hood illustrated by Ed Bryan conquered the Best Tech group. The interactive storybook app provides a completely new take on the classic fairytale, allowing children to create their own story by choosing from multiple paths. Published by Nosy Crow, Little Red Riding Hood beat David Walliams’The Slightly Annoying Elephant, to top the poll.


A group of high-profile judges, featuring widely loved names from literature, showbiz and children’s TV, compiled a shortlist for each category of the awards – before the public vote decided the eventual winners.

Judges included teen-queen author Louise Rennison, renowned children’s author and illustrator Lauren Child, Made in Chelsea’s Andy Jordan and Great British Bake Off star Mel Giedroyc who hosted today’s Best Book awards ceremony.

Viv Bird, CEO of Booktrust said:

What’s unique about the new Booktrust Best Book Awards is that children choose the winners themselves. Strikingly, this year, real life drama has taken over from fantasy, with children voting for books that deal with some of the real challenges facing young people today. Often using humour to lighten the load, these types of books can offer comfort and reassurance to children as well as entertaining them.

Jorrit Van der Meulen, Vice President, EU Kindle added:

Reading is important. Amazon Kindle is delighted to sponsor the Booktrust Best Book Awards which celebrate the enduring popularity of children’s books. It’s wonderful that children have been given the opportunity to decide the winners themselves and they have clearly chosen some fantastic titles.

Flipside magazine Ceasing Publication July 2014

Following a strategic review by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) of its education activities, it has been decided to discontinue Flipside.

As a technology lifestyle magazine, Flipside has been inspiring teenagers for nearly 10 years. It has been an amazing journey during which we have always searched for the inside story and unearthed fantastic facts. We have also brought readers the latest and greatest in games, apps, gadgets, film, TV, music and books.

The National Public Library Festival

Moose Kid All Ages Free Comic Launched Today!

Moose Kid Comics is a glorious 36-page, free to read, digital children’s comic. It features over 40 of the best comic artists working today, from well-established heroes to newer talents from the indie and web scenes. Each contributing their own entirely original characters, exclusively for the comic.

No-one involved makes any profit, all artists have given their time for free!

For three main reasons:

To entertain comic readers and win new audiences.
To show how fantastic a children’s comic can e when artists create it themselves.
To open up discussion about how we can make children’s comics great again.


To read the comic (and find out more), click on the image below!


Farewell Strange Chemistry

I have just heard that Strange Chemistry the YA imprint of Angry Robot Books is ceasing the publication of new books immediately.

They, along with crime imprint Exhibit A were unable to establish viable presences in the markets they were targeting.

Strange Chemistry was launched in the British Library in 2012, I was fortunate to be there and was excited about the awesome authors they had on their list.

With SC no longer publishing the YA market has lost a little bit of the strangeness that they brought to their readers.

I will miss them!

Request a FREE Lego StoryStarter sample kit for your school!

The sample kit is a great way of finding out a bit more about StoryStarter, the new literacy resource for Key Stages 1 & 2, because it contains a selection of bricks, special elements and Minifigures that you’ll find in the full set as well as three small base plates on which to build your story.


Once you have your sample kit, use it to build a story of your choice, then video yourself or your pupils telling the story for your chance to win a class pack of StoryStarter worth £649.99*. Simply upload your video to YouTube then visit to enter the competition. PLUS, the winning stories will all be made into a book and one overall winner will have their story made into a LEGO® animation!

You can find the request form here

The Impact of School Libraries on Learning

A considerable body of international evidence shows that school libraries impact on:

  • Higher test or exam scores equating to academic attainment: this includes academic attainment in the form of higher standardised test scores in reading, language arts, history and maths, and better grades in curriculum assignments or exams;

  • Successful curriculum or learning outcomes, including information literacy: this includes higher quality project work, the development and practice of information literacy, increased knowledge and reading development;

  • Positive attitudes towards learning: including increased motivation, improved attitude towards learning tasks, self-esteem, and wider reading for pleasure.