IBBY

On Wednesday 20th June I went to the AGM of the UK branch of IBBY (the International Board of Books for Young people). IBBY was set up in 1953, after the devastation of WWII, to promote international understanding through children’s books. The work they do is fascinating, focussing on ensuring good quality and relevant work is published for children throughout the world. There is lots of information on the UK website about local and international projects and it is well worth perusing. It only costs £30 a year to join and support their work, as well as receiving a few personal perks, so I highly recommend you do!

The AGM was held at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, a beautiful building with an excellent mission – maintaining and growing the only UK archives of the diverse black history – and finished with a presentation from S.I. Martin about engaging young people using archive material, and demonstrating that writing can be an act of revolution. He showed us a spectrum of black backgrounds in the UK as far back as the 15C. Not only as slaves but also as princes and property owners, educated and not, having a voice and using it. His words reminded me of Geraldine McCaughrean’s impassioned plea at the CKG ceremony that vocabulary and language in writing for children in young people must be rich and wide. Steve said “we’re losing the ability to describe ourselves”, less able to incorporate histories and so embrace differences. It was definitely food for thought.

The Hand of an Angel

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How to be a Lion by Ed Vere

Meet Leonard – a lion like no other. Leonard doesn’t like to raw and chomp. Leonard likes to read and daydream on his thinking hill.

Leonard’s best friend is Marianne, a duck. But lions chomp ducks, don’t they? But Leonard doesn’t want to chomp Marianne!
 
Leonard and Marianne work together to write a special poem to show the other fierce lions that just because lions are supposed to be fierce, it doesn’t mean they have to be.

How to be a Lion is beautiful – this should come as no surprise as Ed Vere is always a phenomenal artist, but his words can stand on their own and they form a beautiful meditation on the power of being different, ignoring the herd (in this case the pride) and being true to your beliefs, yourself and your friends; and in knowing that tough decisions do not have to be faced alone.

As the cool, young kids of today say this book gave me all the feels!

It is usually extremely hard to find a picture book of the year but for me, I think, it may be How to be a Lion!

How to be a Lion is written and illustrated by Ed Vere, published by Puffin Books and will be available in all good bookshops on the 28th June.

CKG18 awards winners

In case you somehow managed to miss the news yesterday, the CILIP CKG awards ceremony was held at the British Library.

It was a fantastic event that is well worth watching again for the eloquent speeches. I’m just going to share a link to clips of some of the event, and Jake Hope’s post about the awards and the winners.

Head to twitter and look over the #CKG18 hashtag to catch up on opinions and photos.

It marked the end of my two year judging tenure. It has been such a joy to be involved in the process, although really hard to not join in public conversations about the books! I now have a huge TBR pile to catch up on, ready to pick my nominations for 2019…and TALK ABOUT!

Whatever Happened to the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals?

The Time: Next week?

The Place: Austerity UK

When the last Libraries closed and the final Librarians and Library workers packed off the retraining facilities or retired it was realised that the minute savings made from destroying the public library service made no impact on reducing the deficit or ending austerity.

Still every little helps (or not as the case may be)
 
CILIP quietly disbanded the YLG and felt guilty about it, without Children’s & Young Peoples Librarians there were no facilitators, no organisers, no judges so the awards just did not happen. There was shock and disbelief that awards with such a prestigious and high profile history could end but what could one do? The librarians were just not there anymore – who knew this could happen?
 
Oh sure there were a few protests and people shouting about how important they were but apart from a few column inches here and blog posts there they just faded into history.
 
Without authors and illustrators there would be no need for the Awards, but without Librarians there would be no Awards.

That may be the future but it is not this day!

Today the CKG Medal winners are announced, the 81st CILIP Carnegie Medal will be awarded to the most outstanding book for children and young people and the 61st Kate Greenaway Medal will be awarded to the most outstanding illustrated work.

It is amazing, for years I have been fascinated by the Medals and then I was selected to join the Judging Panel and became one of a select few to see behind the curtain and now I am more engaged with the awards than ever before! Knowing how much work, dedication and personal sacrifice goes in to running and judging the awards is mind-boggling.

Seriously if you want to know more about how the awards function then get hold of a judge and speak to them! You will learn that Librarians are Super Heores!

The fact that the awards are run wholly and solely by librarians is often overlooked, and in the current era of cuts and closures this makes them vulnerable. The threat is very real, and the loss of prestigious awards such as the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals is something that could be used by Library Activists protesting the ongoing loss and deprofessionalisation of Libraries in the UK.

That, however is a consideration for Tuesday morning, for today is a day for celebrating literature, reading, authors and librarians!

If you excited about the 81st CILIP Carnegie Medal and the 61st CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal recipients then you can watch live here: http://carnegiegreenawauk/sty.org.ream.php from 12pm and join the celebrations on social media using the #CKG18 hashtag.

Feminist Fiction

I have to tell you about Angie Thomas and THUG and the Black Girls Book Club, but also about Feminist Book Fortnight which begins TODAY! I considered spamming you all with multiple blog posts on my first day on the job, then thought about it and realised that they’re so perfectly linked that I should just combine them.

On Thursday night, Matt and I went along to SAMA Bankside in Blackfriars for a small party celebrating Angie Thomas’s ‘The Hate you Give’ which, I’m sure you already know, is a powerful story of a young black woman in America dealing with the aftermath of witnessing a police shooting (of her best friend) alongside reconciling her school life with her home life. It is shortlisted for Carnegie and won the 2018 Waterstones children’s book prize. She gave us a bit of information about her next book, On the Come Up, that sounds to be about another strong female and her efforts to break into the patriarchal rap industry while dealing with her mum losing her job. It was wonderful to meet Angie, and chat to librarian colleagues and familiar faces from Walker, but I was also really pleased to meet some members of the Black Girls Book Club. They had collaborated with Walker to host Angie Thomas at an event and spread the word about her outstanding novel, but they don’t focus solely on newly published work. I was blown away by in their passion regarding the back catalogue of fiction written by black women over the years, and am going to be getting touch with them about having some of them as guest speakers at a CILIP YLG London event about what we should definitely have in our libraries. This segues nicely into my interest in Feminist Book Fortnight, which is an inaugural but hopefully annual event organised by independent bookshops to highlight feminist works by women writers. I intend to only read relevant books from my TBR pile, starting with Yaba Badoe’s ‘A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars’. What will you read?

#TeenLibrarian Monthly June 2018

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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.

LGBTQ+ Books: a List

A selection of picture books, fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels featuring LGBTQ+ characters in either main or supporting roles.

Usual caveats apply: there are many more titles available, but these are books that I have in my library collection and I do recommend them. If anyone would like to recommend additional titles, then please leave a comment below.

Picture Books

  • Pride the story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders & Steven Salerno
  • A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill twiss & E.G. Keller
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell & Henry Cole
  • The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith
  • Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton and Dougal MacPherson
  •  
    Fiction

  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
  • The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Kaleidoscope Song by Fox Benwell
  • Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman
  • The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Undone by Cat Clarke
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post Emily M. Danforth
  • Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
  • If You Could be Mine by Sara Farizan
  • Tessa Masterton Will Go to Prom by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
  • Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green
  • Skylarks by Karen Gregory
  • Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler
  • Pantomime by Laura Lam
  • Boy Meets Boy
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

  • A Line in the Dark
  • Ash
  • Huntress by Malinda Lo
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Lee Mackenzie
  • The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here
  • Release by Patrick Ness
  • Things a Bright Girl can Do by Sally Nicholls
  • Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
  • Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
  • Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
  • Playing the Oart by Daria Wilke translated by Marian Schwarz
     
    Graphic Novels
     

  • Giant Days by John Allison
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  • The Authority by Warren Ellis & Bryan Hitch
  • Death: The High Cost of Living
  • Death: The Time of Your Life by Neil Gaiman & Chris Bachalo
  • The Wicked + The Divine
  • Young Avengers by Kieran Gillen & Jamie McKelvie
  • Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  • The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Purvis
  • Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka & J.H. Williams III
  • Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn Allen & Shannon Watters
  • Skim by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki
  • Supergirl: Being Super by Mariko Tamaki & Joëlle Jones
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  • Pedro and Me by Judd Winick
  •  
    Non-Fiction

  • Issues: Sexuality and Gender edited by Cara Acred
  • How to Transform your School into an LGBTQ+ Friendly Place: a Practical Guide for Nursery, Primary and Secondary Teachers by Dr Elly Barnes MBE and Dr Anna Carlile
  • Queer : the ultimate LGBT guide for teens by Kathy Belge
  • This Book is Gay
  • The Gender Games by Juno Dawson
  • From Ace to Ze: The Little Book of LGBT Terms by Harriet Dyer
  • LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That are Actually Funny by Alisha Gaddis
  • Understanding Sexuality: what it means to be Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual
  • Understanding Transgender by Honor Head
  • GLBTQ: the Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Teens by Kenny Huegel
  • From Prejudice to Pride: a History of the LGBTQ+ Movement by Amy Lamé
  • Identity and Gender by Charlie Ogden
  • Straight talk About… Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity by Rachel Stuckey
  • Home Boys ~ Alex Wheatle

    home boys.jpgFour friends decide to run away from the horror of their everyday lives in a children’s home in the English countryside. They head for the woods, their sense of freedom surprises them, and for the first time they feel the exhilaration of adolescence. Yet the forest slowly asserts its own power and what happens there will affect the four boys’ lives forever.

    My initial reaction when picking up Home Boys was the thought that this was going to be an upsetting read with no joy or redemption contained within the pages. I was wrong! Home Boys is bleak and hard to read, but it is also a beautifully written, opening with grief and loss in the mid 1980’s as we are introduced the major players of this drama it then dives further back the 1970’s where the boys’ story begins. As hard and uncompromising as it was, Home Boys ends on a note of hope that I did not see coming, friendships and love built over years endure beyond what many people expect and continues past the story ending.

    Alex Wheatle, always a gripping writer has given us an important work about life as a kid in care in the 1970’s and how brutality and abuse within the system can continue to distort and destroy lives down the years. Where Home Boys shines are in the interactions between the friends, capturing the love, anger, growing tensions and everything else that bubbles up within adolescent peer groups.

    Wheatle weaves in the overt racism of the 1970’s and does not shy away from the language and brutality that still lingers just beneath the surface of society to this day. Home Boys is an important read – to help us face the cruelty and mistreatment that was prevalent in many care homes of the recent past, as well as the abuses people of colour still face to this day.

    Home Boys by Alex Wheatle is published by Arcadia books and is available now