Category Archives: News

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

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

play-image
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

New Award to Recognise Significant Contribution to Scottish Children’s Literature

Scottish Book Trust is today (Wednesday 10 August) delighted to announce the creation of a brand new award intended to recognise and celebrate outstanding contributions to Scottish children’s literature.

The Significant Contribution to Scottish Children’s Literature Award, sponsored by Browns Books for Students, is a new honour that will be awarded annually to one author or illustrator and one learning professional who have had an inspiring impact on young readers in Scotland.

The author or illustrator will be an individual with a strong backlist, a long record of engaging with their audience and meaningful engagement within the writing community. The learning professional will be a teacher or librarian who is going above and beyond the call of duty to pass on the Reading for Pleasure message to the next generation and who works tirelessly to inspire children and young people to read and write.

Nominations will open on 31st August 2016 and the winners will be chosen by an independent panel of experts and announced at an evening reception in June 2017.

Commenting on the award, Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

It is a simple statement of fact that the projects Scottish Book Trust runs for children would simply not exist without the passion of the teachers and librarians who consistently exceed their remit by embracing each and every reading campaign, award, tour, event and challenge with infectious enthusiasm, who research and download interminable resources, who put on the silly voices, who leap about until their students are as inspired and as passionate about books as they themselves are.
And, of course, there would be nothing to get the children excited about were it not for the outrageously talented and hardworking bunch of authors and illustrators that Scotland is lucky enough to lay claim to.
This award is intended to celebrate and recognise these people – the ones who bring the magic of books to children and set them on a path to being booklovers for life.

Nic Hales, Marketing Manager for Browns Books for Students added:

We at Browns Books for Students are very pleased to be working in conjunction with Scottish Book Trust to highlight such an important award, not only to schools within Scotland but also the wider community. We are very excited to find out who the winner of the award will be!

Something magical is happening to mark the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone…

“I’ve got to go to the library!”
– Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry_Potter_exhibition_at_the_British Library Credit Tony Antoniou

The British Library is excited to announce a new exhibition about the magic of Harry Potter, set to open at the Library in autumn 2017, and marking the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The exhibition will open on 20 October 2017, and run until 28 February 2018.

From medieval descriptions of dragons and griffins, to the origins of the philosopher’s stone, the exhibition will take readers on a journey to the heart of the Harry Potter stories.

The exhibition will showcase an extraordinary range of wizarding books, manuscripts and objects, and combine centuries-old British Library treasures with original material from Bloomsbury’s and J.K. Rowling’s archives.

Jamie Andrews, Head of Culture and Learning at the British Library, said:

We at the British Library are thrilled to be working with J.K. Rowling and with Bloomsbury to mark the twentieth anniversary of Harry Potter, and to inspire fans with the magic of our own British Library collections.

More information about the exhibition will be released early in 2017, and tickets will be on sale from spring 2017 at www.bl.uk

Diverse Books in School Libraries Survey

An MA student at Oxford Brookes University is conducting research into the provision of diverse books in school libraries and would like your help. If you could fill out this short survey (and share it with any friends or colleagues who might have missed it) that would be very much appreciated!

http://goo.gl/forms/22roodkMVuTTf8FE3

SCOTTISH CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARDS SET FOR A BRAND NEW CHAPTER

Scottish Book Trust today (12 May 2016) announced that The Scottish Children’s Book Awards have undergone an exciting restructure, unveiling brand new reading initiatives which have been created with the purpose of inspiring even more children across Scotland to get into reading.

On 3 March 2016 the Scottish Government announced an exciting new reading initiative for P4-7, to be delivered by Scottish Book Trust in partnership with the Government. The First Minister’s Reading Challenge will be launched in August, and will encourage pupils in P4-7 classes across Scotland to read for pleasure.

To allow schools to embrace the first year of this new project fully, The Scottish Children’s Book Awards will be replaced by two new prizes, The Bookbug Picture Book Prize and The Scottish Teenage Book Prize. Scottish Book Trust will no longer run a book award for 8-11 fiction as this age group is covered by The First Minister’s Reading Challenge.

The Bookbug Picture Book Prize will be for children in nursery, Primary 1, Primary 2 and Primary 3. There will be three picture books by Scottish authors on the shortlist – pupils will be encouraged to read the three books and then vote for their favourite. In addition, every P1 child in Scotland will receive the three books in the Bookbug P1 Family Bag, gifted in November. There will also be a continued focus on involving P4-7 pupils in a shared reading project with younger pupils.

Based on feedback from teachers and librarians, changes to this category include an earlier voting deadline to reduce the time pupils wait to find out the winning author and the provision of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE)-linked classroom activities and author videos. On announcement day schools will be sent an exclusive video which unveils the winning author, to serve as a base for the pupils’ own celebrations.

The First Minister’s Reading Challenge will initially be for Primary 4, 5, 6 and 7 pupils. Pupils will set personal reading goals to achieve by March 2017 and reading journals will be distributed to all schools in the Autumn term. A new website will be unveiled in August with support materials and a list of suggested book titles, to provide inspiration for pupils and teachers alike. A range of prizes will be awarded next summer to pupils and schools taking part in the challenge.

The Scottish Teenage Book Prize will be aimed at pupils in S1 right through to S6 and will include a short-list of three Scottish teen novels – pupils will be encouraged to read the three books and then vote for their favourite. In addition there will be a Book Trailer competition and CfE-linked learning resources with activities suitable for book groups.

Changes from previous years include an extension to the voting deadline to allow more time to complete the three novels. There will no longer be a book review competition, but instead pupils will have the chance to win an event with the short-listed authors in their school. On announcement day, schools will be sent an exclusive video which unveils the winning author, to serve as a base for the school’s own celebrations.

The key dates for the new projects are as follows:
sbt table

FOR ALL PRESS QUERIES, PLEASE CONTACT
HELEN CRONEY – 0131 524 0160 / 07751 69 58 54
HELEN.CRONEY@SCOTTISHBOOKTRUST.COM

Jo Frost becomes BookTrust ambassador

Britain’s largest reading charity, BookTrust has revealed that beloved parenting expert, bestselling author, and television personality, Jo Frost has become their celebrity ambassador.

Jo who has starred in a variety of her own television shows including Supernanny, Family Matters, and her newest show, Jo Frost: Nanny on Tour, agreed to become an ambassador for BookTrust after following their work for many years and strongly believing in the charity’s mission to inspire every child to read confidently.

Through her past career as a professional nanny she became well-known with BookTrust’s early years reading programme Bookstart, which gives every child in England and Wales a free reading pack in the first year of their life and again when they are 3-4 years old.

Jo said: “I have found during my 20 years in childcare that when children are read to it can have a wonderful calming effect on them. Reading doesn’t just give children a head-start in learning; the ritual of sharing a story and providing special time for parents and carers to build a strong and loving relationship with their child is vital.

“I believe every childhood should be enriched by books – that’s why I’m looking forward to working with BookTrust to ensure all children get to experience the joy of a story.”

Diana Gerald, BookTrust Chief Executive said: “Reading changes lives. Books bring knowledge and reading develops empathy. It can help children who are going through difficulties – whether it’s by reading about people in similar circumstances, or simply escaping into another world. We want families everywhere to prioritise books and reading, even if they’re not confident readers themselves. It’s such an easy way to make huge difference to your child’s future. By working with Jo Frost we know we will be able to spread this message to even more families and support them to read with their children.”

Jo Frost is the most recognisable and trusted parental expert and family advocate worldwide. With over 20 years in childcare, beginning her career as a professional sole-charge nanny, she has honed her successful methods of child-rearing with hands-on, real-life experience.

Jo will be campaign ambassador for Bath Book Bed which launches on Monday 16 May.

The Siobhan Dowd Trust 2016 funding opportunity for schools and groups who work with disadvantaged young people

In 2016 the Siobhan Dowd Trust is funding an opportunity for schools and groups who work with disadvantaged young people to apply for a series of small grants to be spent in local independent bookshops.

The amount awarded in each UK region will total £1000. This may go entirely to one school/group, it is possible that this amount will be broken down into several smaller grants of £750 / £500 / £250 – £250 can still buy a few nice books!

Which bookshops we use will depend on the location of the winning groups. It is expected that young people will choose the books themselves, with guidance from their librarians, teachers and booksellers.

As with other school competitions the Trust has run, this is not eligible for fee-paying schools to enter.

All they need – in a short email to their director – is the following:

* Your contact details
* Name and location of your school / group
* PP / FSM number (or equivalent to demonstrate that you work with disadvantaged or vulnerable groups)
* What it is you do to engage hard to reach young readers (we are looking to build on already existing good practise).

Please email this to director@siobhandowdtrust.com

2016 Deadlines by region:

June 30:
Scotland
North East
North West
Yorkshire & Humber

September 30:
Wales
West Midlands
East Midlands
East of England

November 30:
N Ireland
South West
South East
London

For more details visit:
http://www.siobhandowdtrust.com/teachers-and-librarians/

Shakespeare Documented: A multi-institutional collaboration to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death

Shakespeare Documented is the largest and most authoritative collection of primary-source materials documenting the life of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), bringing together all known manuscript and print references to Shakespeare, his works, and additional references to his family, in his lifetime and shortly thereafter.

http://www.shakespearedocumented.org/