Category Archives: News

The 2019 Little Rebels Award Shortlist: Propaganda, War and Autocrats

The Little Rebels awards shortlist was released whilst I was away, and it is a fantastic bunch of titles for children (aged 0-12) which “promotes social justice or social equality, challenges stereotypes or is informed by anti-discriminatory concerns.”

Government propaganda, militarization, misjudged Western ‘aid’ and the UK’s participation in the slave trade are just some of the themes highlighted by this year’s shortlist for the Little Rebels Award for Radical Children’s Fiction.

Small, independent publishers figure strongly on the shortlist, including titles from HopeRoad and Lantana Publishing. Anne Booth makes her second Little Rebels Award appearance (Girl With A White Dog was shortlisted in 2015) and former Little Rebels Award judge, Catherine Johnson, is shortlisted for her historical fiction novel, Freedom, an account of the UK’s role in the slave trade which takes the 1781 Zong Massacre as its cue.
 
The full Little Rebels Award 2019 shortlist (for books published in 2018) is:
Across the Divide by Anne Booth – Catnip Publishing
Freedom by Catherine Johnson – Scholastic
The Ghost and Jamal by Bridget Blankley – Hope Road Publishing
The King Who Banned the Dark by Emily Haworth-Booth – Pavilion Children’s Books
The New Neighbours by Sarah McIntyre – David Fickling Books
Running on Empty by S E Durrant – Nosy Crow
Tomorrow by Nadine Kaadaan – Lantana Publishing

 
War and conflict are recurrent themes while receiving very different treatments: Across the Divide explores the pacifist movement and the militarization of local communities; picture book, Tomorrow (by Nadine Kaadan who moved to London following the onset of the Syrian conflict), portrays civil war through the eyes of a family forced to stay indoors; The Ghost and Jamal exposes young people as the real casualties of wars and critiques Western charitable ‘interventions’ in conflict zones. Two of the shortlisted titles foreground disabled characters as significant voices and agents: The Ghost and Jamal’s protagonist has epilepsy and AJ’s parents in Running on Empty have learning disabilities. Durrant’s novel, set in Stratford (London), stars a working-class family struggling under the pressure of financial hardship and a welfare system ill-equipped to support them. Picture book, The New Neighbours, hints at themes very familiar to previous Little Rebels Award shortlists -the treatment of refugees and pre-conceptions about new arrivals- while the protagonist of the third picture book on the list, The King Who Banned the Dark, is an autocrat who instills obedience in his citizens through imagined fears.
Fen Coles, Co-Director of Letterbox Library, said of the shortlist: “From a king who bans the dark to a tower block community fearful of the ratty (!) newcomers, the Little Rebels Award shortlist demonstrates again that weighty topical themes can be brought to the youngest minds in ways which are playful, provocative, thoughtful and fun. Social divisions, conflict, the rise in far right parties and ideologies, threats to democratic rule as well as very home-grown human rights abuses such as the Windrush scandal are all ‘live’ topics which children are hearing about through ubiquitous social medias. The Little Rebels titles continue to offer young people and children texts to help them navigate, question and make sense of the fractured world which surrounds them”.

From the press release

I’ve seen all except 2 of these so will have to seek them out, what I’ve seen/read though is fantastic. Do have a browse of the award’s site for the history, past winners, and current judges! The winner will be announced on 10th July.

Breaking New Ground

Today at the London Book Fair (one day I’ll go…), Speaking Volumes have been sharing BREAKING NEW GROUND, a new brochure of British BAME authors and illustrators for children, in advance of their partner BookTrust’s new project BookTrust Represents, officially launching in April.


This project will:
support and subsidise authors and illustrators of colour to promote their work and to reach more readers through events in bookshops, festivals and schools
offer training and mentoring
launch an online community to support the next generation of great authors and illustrators of colour

The brochure, part of a joint initiative also involving Pop Up Projects, includes articles and excerpts from a range of contributors, and I’m really looking forward to what comes next!

Glancing through the catalogue, it is a wonderful mixture of long published (contemporary) and yet-to-be published authors and illustrators, familiar names and unknown, with an indicator of the age of their target audience. Lots of overlap with the list Matt started here years ago (and we’ve both added to since) but each list has some that the other is missing…

Our list of British based BAME authors and illustrators

Academic Book Week Reveals Top 20 Most Influential Banned Books

Vote Opens to Find Public’s Number One Ahead of Academic Book Week

London 1 Mach 2019: From Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, to Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple, and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird to Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, Academic Book Week (4-9 March 2019) has revealed the twenty most influential banned books.

Selected by academic booksellers across the UK and Ireland in association with Index on Censorship, the public are now invited to vote on the most influential banned book, with the winning book revealed during Academic Book Week.

The public vote is open from Friday 1 March until 11:59pm on Wednesday 6 March, to find the book that has been most influential: https://acbookweek.com/bannedbooks/  

Academic Book Week’s Most Influential Banned Books:

  • 1984 by George Orwell (PRH)
  • A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller (PRH)
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison (PRH)
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (PRH)
  • Country Girls by Edna O’Brien (Faber)
  • His Dark Materials (series) by Philip Pullman (Scholastic)
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (Virago, Hachette)
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D H Lawrence (PRH)
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (PRH)
  • On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (OUP)
  • Rights of Man by Thomas Paine (OUP)
  • Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (PRH)
  • The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (PRH)
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker (W&N, Orion, Hachette)
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (PRH)
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (PRH)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (PRH)
  • Ulysses by James Joyce (PRH)
  • Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (Faber)
  • Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (PRH)

Building on the success of previous years, Academic Book Week 2019 is being coordinated by the Booksellers Association in partnership with University College London.

Emma Bradshaw, Head of Campaigns at the Booksellers Association, said: “Academic Book Week’s Top 20 Most Influential Banned Books will spark debate in Academic Book Week and beyond. Each of the books on this shortlist has been hugely successful, despite attempts to ban them and we look forward to seeing the result of the public vote.”

Academic Book Week celebrates the diversity and influence of academic books throughout history, now and in the future.

To book tickets to events and view the full Academic Book Week line-up, visit:https://acbookweek.com/featured-events/ 

Follow the latest developments via Twitter: @AcBookWeek #AcBookWeek.

Christmas Books on Television Times December 2018

Helen Smith the Learning Resources Manager at Eckington School has produced her annual literary television guide for December

Download (PDF, 3.91MB)

Library Planet

Founded and edited by Christian Lauersen of Roskilde Libraries and Marie Engberg Eiriksson of Gladsaxe Libraries, Denmark; Library Planet is like a crowdsourced Lonely Planet for libraries of the world, meant to inspire library travelers to open the awesome book that is our world of libraries, cities and countries.

Visit Library Planet here: Library Planet

If you want to share your library or libraries you have loved then you can contribute to Library Planet here: https://libraryplanet.net/contribute/

An object lesson on social media use and misuse

This is a good example of the use and misuse of twitter that can be used in a lesson on social media for users of all ages.

Tomi Adeyemi has written a brilliant book called The Children of Blood and Bone

Nora Roberts’ new book is titled Of Blood and Bone

Tomi publicly accused Nora of plagiarism on Twitter due to the similarity of the titles:

This led to the usual mob pile on of fans calling Nora out on multiple platforms; who reached out to Tomi to try and smooth over the trouble that was erupting.

Tomi then tweeted an apology and explanation to calm her fans:

However, she left the original tweet up, which has kept the hate cycle rolling.

Requests from Nora’s side to have the tweet taken down have, so far, remained unanswered.

Nora then wrote this post on her blog: Mob Rule By Social Media

This post gives a brilliant insight to what people under attack online can experience. It can also be used to discuss plagiarism, how the publishing industry works and also (and very importantly) online bullying as well as the importance of having all your facts in order before attacking someone publicly.

Nora and Tomi are both amazing writers, one with 30+ years experience and the other a first-time author, this contretemps seems to have soured views in both fan camps which may lead to many people not experiencing the wonderful work both authors have produced.

Fan is short for fanatic and sometimes the fanaticism comes to the fore and events can occur that damage fandoms, publishing and book lovers are not immune to this, as this event shows.

CLPE Reflecting Realities research

The Centre for Primary Literacy Education (CLPE) have carried out a survey on the books published for children in the UK in 2017, the first large scale piece of research of its kind, and the results are sobering. Librarians and booksellers will unfortunately probably not be surprised to hear that this study into ethnic representation in children’s literature has revealed that only 1% of main characters were BAME, indeed only 4% featured any BAME character. BookTrust is currently undertaking a related but separate piece of research regarding the ethnicity of authors and illustrators, with their findings due to be published in September.

As disappointing as this is, I have hopes that things can only get better, but to help this as readers and book pushers we need to be sure that we’re supporting the books that exist, and shouting for more! Have a look at our regularly updated list of UK BAME authors and illustrators (and tell us if someone’s missing).

You can download the full report from CLPE’s website here.

The Home Office responds to my e-mail about the SCL Visa Deal… except they don’t

Well… 34 working days after I emailed the Home Office about their deal with the Society of Chief Librarians (now Libraries Connected) I have received a response.

My original email can be read here and that is not the email they are responding to – they are responding to an email from me asking why they have not responded to my original email.

Download (PDF, 66KB)

Teen Librarian goes International!

You may have heard that Matt is leaving our shores for sunnier climes, heading to the Sunflower State of North America (Kansas to me and you). With this in mind, he’s asked me to come on board and help keep the UK perspective of Teen Librarian while he dives into US priorities. He’s still very much at the helm but I’m looking forward to doing my bit.

So, a brief introduction: some of you may know me as CazApr1 on twitter, where I’ve been blathering about books and libraries since 2009. I have worked in libraries since 2004, finished my MA in librarianship in 2007, moved from public libraries to a school library in 2009, and Chartered in 2014. I have been on the CILIP YLG London committee since 2010, am currently Chair and have just finished my tenure as CKG judge. My 3 year old arrived as I started pre-reading for CKG (she wasn’t 3 at the time…), and I currently work in a special school library only one day a week. I enjoy rescuing and rejuvenating libraries that have been unloved for years, and supporting colleagues with ideas for engaging students of all ages and abilities, as well as reading lots and lots of kids books.  Now that the enforced CKG secrecy over what I’m reading has ended, I hope to contribute book reviews and book-lists to this site, as well as articles about Important Things.

BookTrust announces new books for Bookbuzz 2018 programme

Bookbuzz is a reading programme that supports schools to encourage reading for pleasure. The programme is suitable for schoolchildren aged 11 – 13, regardless of their reading ability or learning needs.

The 17 books, carefully selected by our panel of experts, ensures the programme is fully inclusive and offers something for every student. It is designed to be flexible and work alongside the English Department’s existing reading strategy. Bookbuzz offers students the element of choice, allowing them to find the right book for them and get excited about books and reading.

In Bookbuzz 2018, the award-winning Ross Mackenzie brings you his new book Shadowsmith (Floris Books), the amazing Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell feature with Fortunately, the Milk (Bloomsbury,) the 2010 Blue Peter Book Award winner Ali Sparkes with Car-Jacked (Oxford University Press) and Bus Stop Baby (Piccadilly Press) by Fleur Hitchcock whose title Murder in Midwinter was last year’s top choice.

Laura Kinsella, Director of English, Kingsthorpe College said: For us, Bookbuzz really does help create that “buzz” about reading. From the moment we tell year 7 students that they will get to choose their very own book to keep, excitement fills the air. As an English department, we want nothing more than to see our students become enthusiastic readers and what better way to do that than for them to take ownership of their reading journey.

Diana Gerald, CEO, BookTrust said: Choice is a key element to reading, but sometimes finding the right book can be overwhelming with so many options. Bookbuzz is a wonderful way to help boost reading for pleasure in your school, offering students a list of fantastic books and tools that help them make that most important decision on what they actually want to read.

Author Fleur Hitchcock who features in the 2018 programme said: I think Bookbuzz is brilliant because it’s about choice, about pleasure, about having fun around books. It’s about getting a book into the ownership of children who don’t own books, and about introducing confirmed readers to new texts. It’s about encouragement and joy – like an enormous book group for thousands of children. I feel honoured to have a book as part of this fantastic selection. Long live Bookbuzz.

Bookbuzz titles to choose from:

Amazing Animals by Guinness World Records
Shadowsmith by Ross MacKenzie
Accidental Superstar by Marianne Levy
Bus Stop Baby by Fleur Hitchcock
Defenders: Killing Ground by Tom Palmer
Boris Babysits by Sam Lloyd
The Mystery of Me by Karen McCombie
Sky Dancer by Gill Lewis
Car-Jacked by Ali Sparkes
Zebra Crossing Soul Song by Sita Brahmachari
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman & illustrated by Chris Riddell
The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
Chasing Danger by Sara Grant
The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan
The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens
Haunt: Dead Scared by Curtis Jobling
Oi Frog! by Kes Gray & Jim Field