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.

Something Old, Something New – a WriteAway Conference

From picture books to novels, poetry to comics, oral stories to classic film, this event will assert the importance of values and quality texts for teaching literacy and nourishing young minds. Speakers include John Agard, Anthony Browne, Emma Chichester Clark, Gabrielle Cliff-Hodges, Jonathan Douglas, Nikki Gamble, Prue Goodwin, Martin Jenkins, Nicolette Jones, Jane Ray, Chris Riddell, Morag Styles and Kate Wilson.

An exciting range of practical workshops will present creative approaches to teaching with texts. Presenters include Marilyn Brocklehurst, Darren Coult, Pam Dix, Mel Gibson, Samantha Hardy, Phil McDermott, Cliff McNish, Emma Madden, Sarah Mussi, David Reedy, Kathryn Saeb-Parsy, Luke Slater, Sara Stanley, Mat Tobin and Emma Vieceli.

Date: Friday 22 May 2009

Time: 9.00am – 4.30pm (Registration from 8.30)

Venue: University of London

Fee £150 (£120 before 28th February) Book early to avoid disappointment. We were fully booked a month before the last conference.

PROGRAMME

8.30 Registration (tea and coffee)

9.00 Something Old, Something New: Nikki Gamble

9.30 The Relevance of Classic Texts: Jonathan Douglas, Director National Literacy Trust; Kate Wilson, MD Scholastic UK; Gabrielle Cliff-Hodges, University of Cambridge

10.10 Poetry: addressing the concerns of the Ofsted survey Morag Styles, University of Cambridge

10.40 Martin Jenkins and Chris Riddell: Writing and illustrating Don Quixote and Gulliver’s Travels

11.10 Coffee

11.40 Workshop A choices

12.40 Lunch at the Royal National Hotel

1.40 Workshop B choices

2.50 Interpreting Hansel and Gretel through illustration: Anthony Browne, Jane Ray, Emma Chichester-Clark chaired by Prue Goodwin

3.40 John Agard: Young Inferno

4.10 Closing words

4.15 Tea and book signing

5.00 Close

Workshop A choices

* Universal Stories: approaches to teaching the old epics
* Fairy Tales and Philosophy
* Approaching classic stories through comics and graphic novels
* Choosing texts for the class and school library
* Storybox: an approach to making stories through traditional
motifs
* Telling, reading and writing ghost stories

Workshop B choices

* Shakespeare and Manga
* Classics? Whose Classics? Challenging the literary canon
* From oral storytelling to storywriting
* Teaching Science Fiction through classic films
* Bringing the past to life: historical fiction, costume and artefacts

For more information and to download the conference flier click here

Tintin at 80

Tintin & Snowy

Tintin & Snowy

This Saturday the 10th January marks the 80th anniversary of Tintin‘s first appearance in Le Petit Vingtième.

Tintin has remained consistently popular with children, teens and adults for the past 80 years. The 80th anniversary comes amidst news that the long-awaited Tintin film (to be directed by Steven Spielberg and a script written by Doctor Who scribe Steven Moffat) is due to be released in 2010.

While the filming is only due to start in February, the film once released may be used as a taster of Tintin to get reluctant readers interested in trying the books themselves.

Teen Librarian Monthly December

The December edition of Teen Librarian Monthly is available to download here

This month’s edition contains information on Leeds Central Library’s Tokyopop ReCon event, Northern Ireland’s Libraries have been running Manga and Fashion Comic workshops, groupthing launches in January and 2008 saw the release of a number of movies that are based on YA Literature.

Lastly, the Eight Questions With… author interview is with Sam Enthoven author of The Black Tattoo and TIM Defender of the Earth

Enticing teenagers into the Library

Enticing teenagers into the library by:  Clare Snowball Faculty of Media, Society and Culture, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia

Click on the title for an excellent and informative article on enticing teens into the library by Clare Snowball.

Twilight: Supernatural Sweet Valley High?

That is how the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer was described to me by a friend (who shall remain nameless lest his life be threatened by hordes of fangirls).  I have not read the series yet as the waiting list is over a month long in my local library, my name is down to receive the books when my turn comes round and I shall form an opinion once I have read them.  They are proving to be incredibly popular and as a colleague said in passing:  “Anything that gets teens to read has to be good for libraries!”

There is even a facebook site dedicated to girls who have decided not to wait for Prince Charming and instead are waiting for their Edward Cullen to arrive,  it has just under 50 000 members at present.  I have read that in America a number of bookstores and libraries have held Twilight midnight proms (to celebrate the release dates of the books).  Going by the level of popularity the movie version has been experiencing and by extension the book series, it should be possible to hold similar events in UK Libraries (pending health & safety checks of course).

Teen Librarian Monthly November

The TLM Edition for November is available here:TLM November

All change please

Welcome to the WordPress version of Teen Librarian UK!  The old site was just so ugly and getting to be a pain to maintain so I decided to move in the direction of a useful, light and not unattractive-looking CMS blogging thing.

Any comments on the new look and also (as usual) any suggestions on how to improve it will be welcomed!