Category Archives: News

The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators Reading for Pleasure Offer to London Schools

The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators is committed to promoting education in its widest sense and particularly in supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds who have fewer opportunities than others. This is a commitment that has been encouraged by successive Lord Mayors.

During 2017, the WCA Trust has decided to support literacy development and the encouragement of children’s reading for pleasure in London schools. The WCA Trust will sponsor a number of author/ illustrator / poet / storyteller visits for disadvantaged pupils in London schools, throughout 2017. The project will be organized by Sue Bastone, Mistress Arbritrator and Authors Aloud UK.

To apply for visit funding download and fill in this application form:

Download (DOCX, Unknown)

The Author of Tomorrow Award

The Author of Tomorrow Award is designed to find the adventure writers of the future.

Run in partnership with a number of non-governmental organisations dedicated to improving global literacy levels, it is open to anyone aged between twelve and twenty-one who has completed a short piece of adventure writing in English.

To enter the Author of Tomorrow Award

The author must be aged between twelve and twenty-one years of age (on 1 January 2017).
The piece of short fiction entered must be between 1500 and 5000 words.
The submitted work must, in the opinion of the judges, fall within what can be defined as adventure writing (using the definition provided here).

The author must provide

An electronic copy of their piece of short fiction
A short synopsis of their work
A scanned copy of their birth certificate

Closing date

Entries can be submitted from the 31st of October 2016 until the 23rd of January 2017. Any story submitted after the deadline will not be eligible for entry.

The winning author will receive £1,000 pounds sterling and a framed certificate.

Full details are available here:

Christmas Literary TV Guide

For the past several years Helen Smith the School Librarian at Eckington School has compiled a list of all the films and television shows based on books that show over the Christmas period.

This is no small task as the massive list will show.

The titles have only been picked from Freeview channels and there are no 18s on the list to make it family friendly.

You can download the list here:

Download (PDF, 3.28MB)


UK Blog Awards 2017

Blog awards seem to have become a thing over the past few years, I know that TeenLibrarian has ended up on a number of lists detailing educational and library blogs of note over the years but this is the first time that it has been nominated for a gong.

I am not asking anyone (friends. colleagues & family) to vote for me because that would be a bit tacky but if you have used TL at all over the years and think it deserving of a nod then by all means please do.

To vote click on the image below to be taken to the voting page.

UK Youth Parliament annual sitting kicks off Parliament Week 2016

On Friday 11 November, Members of the UK Youth Parliament will debate a range of topical issues, including the need for cheap, accessible public transport and tackling racist and religious discrimination. In addition, they will hold a short debate on to reflect on current political affairs and their ideas for “A Better, Kinder Democracy.”

The Youth Parliament, sitting for its seventh year in the House of Commons Chamber, heralds the start of UK Parliament Week (14-20 November), an annual festival of events intended to connect communities across the UK with their democracy.

This year’s Make Your Mark campaign to decide the topics of the Youth Parliament’s debate in the House of Commons received a record number of ballots, reaching 978,216 young people. Make Your Mark is now the biggest youth consultation of its kind in UK history, with almost two million young people aged 11-18 taking part in the last two years.

Schools across the UK have been encouraged to tune in to watch the debates which will be streamed on and broadcast on BBC Parliament from 11.15am. At the close of debates, MYPs will vote to decide which of the topics will become the focus of their national 2017 campaign.

For the first time, the annual sitting of the Youth Parliament coincides with Armistice Day, and so the session will begin with a two minute silence at 11.00, which will be streamed live on the UK Parliament website.

Morning session
Watch from 11.15am (broadcast concludes by approximately 12.40pm)
· We must stop cuts that affect the NHS
· Votes for 16 and 17 year olds in all public elections
· Make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all

Afternoon session
Watch from 1.40pm
· Tackling racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are Muslim or Jewish
· A curriculum to prepare us for life
· ‘A Better, Kinder Democracy’

The UKYP sitting will be presided over by the Speaker Rt Hon. John Bercow MP, who said:

“I am delighted to welcome the Youth Parliament to their annual sitting. It is always encouraging to see young people debating issues so passionately in the House of Commons and participating in our democracy. Almost a million young people, from across the UK, voted for the motions before us on the Order Paper today, and I am pleased that they are making their voices heard and engaging with the parliamentary process.”

MYPs will also be joined by David Lidington MP, Leader of the House, and Valerie Vaz MP, Shadow Leader of the House, who will both speak from the despatch box in recognition of the UKYP as the only external group permitted to use the House of Commons Chamber.
David Lidington MP, Leader of the House of Commons, said:
“The UK Youth Parliament is an opportunity for Westminster to hear young people raising the issues they care about most. Both MPs in Parliament and ministers in Whitehall will be listening to what MYPs have to say.”
Valerie Vaz MP, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, said:
“Nearly a million young people voted to decide the topics that their Members of the Youth Parliament are debating, which range from public services to promoting democracy and fighting discrimination. These are very pertinent at this time, and I look forward to the debate which I am sure will be of the usual very high standard.”

Connor Hill, Member of Youth Parliament for Dudley said:
“We as a Youth Parliament are proud to represent young people across the UK and the House of Commons is the perfect place to do just that. We have once again carried out the largest youth consultation in the UK. The number of young people taking part in Make Your Mark this year has reached the phenomenal heights of over 978,000 ballots. The opportunity to debate issues that young people have voted on in such a hallow chamber is a once in a lifetime opportunity and every single MYP is honoured to be able to do so to represent their area.”

Around 250 MYPs from across the UK will participate in the debate and have been elected by their peers to represent them. MPs have also been invited to meet their local Youth Parliamentarians on the day to discuss these key issues.

The Youth Parliament is one of the key events of Parliament Week, a national awareness week supported by the House of Commons and the House of Lords.


At noon on the 5th November I joined friends, colleagues and around 2500 other fellow believers in Museums, Galleries and a comprehensive, fully-staffed Library service outside the British Library on a march through London.

It was amazing – I saw so many people I have known for years but seldom see in real life (and that was just the Librarians). Amongst the library supporters was Alan Gibbons who had a pivotal role in organising everyone, acting as master of ceremonies and making sure that speakers got to the megaphone; Lord Bird the cross-bench peer also made an appearance and gave a rousing and moving speech about the cost of closing libraries, his words are still echoing in my head two days later, Michael Rosen was his normal fiery self and Chris Riddell current Children’s Laureate spoke as well and apparently drew as he walked. Philip Ardagh loomed imposingly like a giant, bearded Moai statue and spoke as he usually does incredibly eloquently.


There were so many people I know online in attendance – most of whom I only found out about after the event which is a shame as I love meeting people that I have only know via e-mail or twitter.

I joined my fellow School Librarians bringing up the rear of the march, the whole event was impeccably organised and run by Unison shop stewards. The Metropolitan Police were also in attendance and kept a low profile throughout making sure that traffic kept its distance and otherwise acting unobtrusively.

One of the most heartening things of the march was the fantastic level of public support, from drivers hooting and waving and people on the side-lines applauding as we walked past.

This is the first time since the anti-austerity March for a Difference march I 2011 that I have been able to get out and stand up for libraries and I have missed it!

Ian Clark one of the founders of Voices for the Library & The Radical Librarians Collective put together a short video of the day here:

The march was peaceful, professional and ran like a dream and I would like to thank everyone who marched and those that provided moral support from near and far!

Regional marches are being organised to keep the momentum moving.

Teen Take-Over of Local Libraries

A Place Free of Judgement by Blast Theory and Tony White

On 29 October 2016, over the course of 9 hours, teenagers in Worcester, Telford and Cannock will be taking control of their local libraries, and performing live to a worldwide audience. Through a unique project supported by Arts Connect and ASCEL West Midlands, the group have been working with award-winning artists Blast Theory and author Tony White to re-imagine libraries, storytelling and their place in the world. This work will come to life in an ambitious and fun 9-hour takeover of the three libraries, starting in Telford (3pm – 6pm), then Cannock (6pm – 9pm) and ending in Worcester (9pm – midnight).

The young people involved have been invited to reimagine the role of libraries as cultural centres and explore the power of storytelling. The stories that have been developed from the workshops will be told in three consecutive performances which will be streamed live on from 3pm – midnight Saturday 29 October 2016. This ground breaking project forges a new approach to collaborative arts engagement between artists, teenagers, audiences and local authorities.

The role of libraries is under scrutiny and this project shows how they are evolving: taking risks to inspire visitors to think differently about the world around them.

Ju Row Farr, artist with Blast Theory explains: They have driven stories in challenging directions. They are hilarious one minute and moving the next. The teenagers stake out the power of books, stories and libraries in our lives.

Author Tony White comments: It has been an incredible privilege to work with really inspiring and creative young people in Cannock, Telford, Worcester, and beyond, and I’ve learned a huge amount from all involved. When so many libraries are closing and under threat, I’m glad to have seen again first-hand the vital role that libraries and librarians play for young people today, and to have been reminded of just how important my local library was to me when I was their age. With A Place Free of Judgement, I feel that we are giving something back, and I hope people enjoy it.

The project is being delivered by a partnership of six library services as part of the ASCEL national membership network. Blast Theory and author Tony White have been in residence in three libraries, one in each local authority area of Staffordshire’s Cannock Library, Telford & Wrekin’s Southwater One and Worcestershire’s St John’s Library. In addition, library services in Solihull, Dudley and Shropshire are working with groups of young people to take part in the project online.

How to Take Part

On Saturday 29 October, between 3pm and midnight, anyone can log in to interact with the young people streaming live online at Unfolding over three consecutive events at libraries, the teenagers will talk to you about personal stories and strange ideas and what they mean to both of you. Together you will make up stories and hide them in amongst the books. And, as the evening builds, a new story by acclaimed author Tony White comes to life with a reading every hour.
Visitors are invited to come and hear the readings in person on Saturday 29 October:

• 3.30pm Telford Southwater Library (TF3 4JG)
• 6.30pm Cannock Library (WS11 1AA)
• 9.30pm Worcester, St John’s Library (WR2 5AX)

Visit to book your place.

The finished book will be published later in the year. If you are interested in receiving a copy, please contact Ju Row Farr – 01273413455

Lords to Debate Role of Libraries and Independent Bookshops in the UK

Members of the House of Lords, including Lord Bird, founder of The Big Issue, Baroness Rebuck, chair of Random House UK and Baroness Hollins, founder of social enterprise Books Beyond Words, will this week debate the importance of libraries, independent bookshops and booksellers in the UK.

The debate, which will be opened by Lord Bird – his second balloted debate – will be held in the House of Lords on Thursday 13 October.
Speaking ahead of the debate, he said:

It is hard to overstate the contribution that libraries, independent bookshops and booksellers make to our lives. They are at the centre of the health and wellbeing of our local communities – intellectually, culturally, socially and physically.”
“Given the fundamental importance of literacy in efforts to prevent and dismantle poverty, I firmly believe that they need continued support from both central and local government across the UK.

I am asking that measures such as rates and taxes be lessened for bookshops in order to keep them buoyant, and that the UK Government sets a clear vision as to how it will promote, improve and strengthen our vital public library service.

This debate on Thursday will be an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the current challenges that libraries, independent bookshops and booksellers face – and to set out a plan as to how we can best safeguard their long-term future.

Other Members scheduled to speak include:

Lord Addington
Baroness Blackstone
Lord Collins of Highbury
Lord Crisp
Baroness Hollins
Baroness Rebuck
Bishop St Albans
Lord Suri
Lord Tope
Lord Wasserman
Lord Ashton of Hyde will respond on behalf of the Government.

The debate is expected to start at some point after 2pm on Thursday 13 October. Members of the media and public are welcome to attend.

A full list of speakers to date can be found at

A list in the order in which Members will speak will be available on the day.

The debate can be watched live at and a transcript will be available approximately three hours from the start of the debate on Hansard.

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:



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 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: – 0131 524 0175 or 07751 69 58 54 ROB MCDOUGALL - PHOTOGRAPHER +0044 7856 222 103 COPYRIGHT ROB MCDOUGALL 2016 - NO SALES

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 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: – 0131 524 0175 or 07751 69 58 54
+0044 7856 222 103