New online competition for young writers

247

247tales.com is a brand new online writing competition from Bloomsbury that challenges young writers to create stories using 247 words or less.

Each month a different Bloomsbury author will pen a 247tale on a certain theme. It is then over to the UK’s budding young writers aged between 8 and 16 to create their miniature masterpiece.

One winner will be chosen each month and they will have their 247tale featured on the website as well as winning a selection of books. Ten runners-up will get a signed copy of the latest book from that month’s featured author, as well as links to their stories which will appear in 247Library section of the website.

The competition launches at 2:47pm on World Book Day (Thursday 5th of March) with a 247tale from debut author Elen Caldecotton the theme of When I Grow Up Rules and details of how to enter are all on the site – www.247tales.com*

Other authors taking part include Kaye Umansky, Gemma Malley, Mark Walden, Chris Priestley and Iam Beck.

* The site will go live on the 5th March

Skim by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki

Winner of the 2008 Ignatz Award for Best Graphic Novel, and appearing on the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book List, Skim is being published by Walker Books in the UK.

Skim The story, told in the form of a diary and comic strip is seen from the perspective of Kimberly Keiko “Skim” Cameron, an aspiring Wiccan and goth who is coping with a broken arm and separated parents when the suicide of (a possibly gay) ex boyfriend of a classmate throws hers and everyones’ lives into turmoil.

Having to deal with a guidance counselor who is concerned about her state of mind (goths being prone to self-harm and suicide) and the antagonism of the girls in the Celebrate Life club; she also has to cope with the growing realisation that she is falling in love with her Englsih teacher Mrs Archer and the fact that her Wiccan circle also serves as a branch of the local AA.

Skim is a brilliantly told and illustrated coming of age tale that will appeal to young readers and adults alike. This book deals with a number of themes that are relevant to teenagers (including suicide, parental separation, youthful alienation, the journey to finding oneself, love and many others) the story is told in a way that is hilarious and heart-breaking in equal measure. Skim is a likable (if sarcastic) protagonist who draws you in and makes you feel what she is feeling and at the end leaves you wanting to know what happens next.

It has been described by Paul Gravett as one of the best comics of 2008 and is truly deserving of that accolade!

Skim is due out in May and is highly recommended for all Graphic Novel collections!

Librarians without Borders

A message from Josie Crimp who is volunteering as a Librarian in Mexico:

Dear all,

I’d like to let you know about a volunteering opportunity for a librarian in Mexico. NPH International run children’s homes in 7 different Latin American countries. They take on children who have either been neglected or abandoned, and give them a permanent home.

I have spent the last 6 months volunteering as the librarian at the NPH home in Mexico, and have 6 months more here. I am hoping that when I leave at the end of June there will be another volunteer ready to take over from me and develop the library further. So I’ve decided to start advertising for the position now!

The position is for a minimum of a year, but all your living expenses are paid for – albeit at a basic level, so it’s an amazing opportunity to travel without a massive commitment to your pocket.

I’ve found my experience here an immense challenge – living with 600 children, learning to speak Spanish from scratch, living on orphanage food – but I’ve never once had any regrets about coming here, and I feel I’ve developed immensely in the 6 months I’ve been here.

If you’re intererested in applying, more information about the charity can be found on the website – www.nph.org – and you can apply online by clicking on ‘Volunteers’ and then ‘Applications’ (Select United States on the list of countries) .

It’s worth noting that whilst Spanish knowledge is useful, I arrived having been learning it for only 3 months, and survived. A qualification in librarianship isn’t a requisite, but I think my training, and my experiences in english public libraries helped me massively with my work. And, obviously, don’t apply unless you like working with children!

Please take a moment to think about it – if you want your life to change this year, this is a surefire way of doing so!

Many thanks,

Josie Crimp

Teen Librarian Monthly: February

The February edition of Teen Librarian Monthly is available to download here: TLM: February

Rapping up Darwin & Evolution

Worth publicising in the Teen areas in Libraries, I am hoping to make it down to the London show.

THE DEVIL IN DOVER
THE RAP GUIDE TO EVOLUTION

Darwin Bicentenary 2009

An evening programme to celebrate the Life, Work and Legacy of
Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882)

Monday, 9 February: Chemistry Lecture Theatre, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW 7.30pm

Tuesday, 10 February: AV Hill Lecture Theatre, UCL, Gower St, London WC1 7.30pm

Thursday 12 February: Medical School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT 6pm

Friday 13 February: The Hive, 5 Belmont, Shrewsbury, SY1 1TE 7.30pm

Organised by Professor Mark Pallen, Author of The Rough Guide to Evolution

Sponsored by the British Council

Download the flyer here: darwintourflyer.pdf

Spine Breakers Live

17 February 2009 / The Sage Gateshead / Gateshead Quays

The teen team at spinebreakers.co.uk invite all teens aged from 13 to 18 to The Sage Gateshead for a day of creative workshops.

Sign up for one of the following:

• learn book jacket design skills with a professional designer

create a short story – practical tips on creative writing with an experienced editor

produce multi-media content for your favourite book – videos, soundtracks & photo stories

PLUS hear Joe Dunthorne, bestselling debut author of Submarine, reading from his book and discussing life, the universe and everything.

Tickets: £5
Times: 9.45 arrival for a 10am start till 4.30pm

Location: The Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR

Tickets are limited so BOOK NOW at www.thesagegateshead.org
or Ticket office: 0191 443 4661

For more information visit: www.spinebreakers.co.uk

The Graveyard Book wins 88th Newbery Award

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman has become the 88th title to win the Newbery Award for Children’s Literature.

For the full story go here

For Mr Gaiman’s response to the news you can read his blog.

Teen Librarian Monthly January 2009

The January issue of TLM is availalbe to download here.

Mad Dog Moonlight by Pauline Fisk

This story revolves around a young boy who has been found wandering the Welsh countryside, with only his baby brother and his ffon, a walking stick with a mysterious carving on the top, in his arms. He has no memory of where he has come from except for the name that his parents have given him – Mad Dog Moonlight.
Despite being fostered into a loving home (and renamed Ryan Lewis), Mad Dog finds it hard to adjust to his new ‘normal’ lifestyle. As time goes by he comes to realise that he is not the same as other children as the magic of nature surrounds him and follows him wherever he goes. Soon, both the open road and the persistent call of the mysterious and sometimes sinister Plynlimon Mountain, leads Mad Dog on a wild journey into the secrets of his past, which finally provides him with the answer to his biggest question of all….who he really is.
There was something rather familiar about this book and storyline- although I couldn’t quite pin it down. At first I found the plot rather slow but this sped up in the second half of the book which I found much more exciting and purposeful. This obviously is a shame as it might put off readers who aren’t willing to persist through the first half. The concept of the book was quite unusual in terms of the blend of fantasy into reality and ‘everyday life.’ I also liked the fact that Fisk incorporated myth and Celtic history and culture intensely into the plot, however, I felt a little confused about her focus.
Whilst obviously a theme of the story was about self-discovery and maturation, the magical aspect of the story grated a little with the more well-developed aspects of the text such as daily life in the school-place, the experience of a foster-family and even the landscape and weather of Wales! Personally, I think that if this aspect of the story was given more depth or put into a clearer context in relation to the characters then it would make for a more comfortable read. Nevertheless, I did enjoy this book very much and found Fisk’s description of the Welsh landscape particularly beautiful, therefore if I were to rate this book I would still give it a solid 7 out of 10.

Reviewer: JP

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Read the full-text of Coraline online (including Dave McKean’s illustrations).

A discussion guide for Coraline is available here if you would like to discuss it in a reading group.