Category Archives: Uncategorized

Racial Equity Tools

Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity.

This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.

https://www.racialequitytools.org/home

Educational Resources

A short list of online educational resources :

Virtual Story-times

Storyline Online

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website, Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more.
https://www.storylineonline.net/

If your library is closed and you have no access to storytimes or books, why not look at these resources

https://www.storylineonline.net/ The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website, Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations.

Open Culture 6000 digitized kids books: http://www.openculture.com/2016/08/enter-an-archive-of-6000-historical-childrens-books-all-digitized-and-free-to-read-online.html

Mackin free (until the end of the year) offer: https://www.mackin.com/hq/resources/free-stuff/

Public domain children’s books at Project Gutenberg: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=children%27s+books

https://librivox.org/ free public domain audiobooks read by volunteers around the world.

Read More →

Grief Angels

15-year-old Owen Marlow is experiencing a great, disorienting loss after his father suddenly passed away and his mother moved them to a new town. None of his old friends knew how to confront his grief, so he’s given up on trying to make new ones. There is one guy at school who might prove to be different if he gives him a chance but lately, Owen has been overwhelmed by his sadness. He’s started to have strange, powerful hallucinations of skeletal birds circling above him. Owen tells himself that these visions are just his brain’s way of trying to cope – until one night, the birds descend and take him to an otherworldly forest. There, he is asked to go on a dangerous journey that promises to bring him the understanding he so desperately seeks – if he can survive it.

Grief Angels is an urgent and heartfelt look at the power of nostalgia and the many different forms of grief. It’s about young men learning how to share their stories, and teens discovering who they are, and who they might one day become.

Atom Books
Cover illustration by Leo Nickolls

Having never been one, I can’t be 100% sure, but my feelings are that David Owen writes teen boys *so well*. Owen and Duncan are just brilliant characters and reading about their growing friendship from both their perspectives, and how deeply they both feel things, really brought it to life. Owen’s grief is so raw and honest, the potential for it to overwhelm him is clear, while at the same time there is humour and self deprecation and a developing passion for Battlestar Gallactica…while Duncan has doubts about his friendships and himself and where it is all going. The writing is beautiful in places, witty in others, and hugely satisfying throughout.

I interviewed David just over a year ago when All the Lonely People was published, so do have a look there at his responses to some of my usual questions. I love that book but Grief Angels is so brilliant, definitely my favourite David Owen book and in my top 5 reads of 2020 so far, that I couldn’t resist asking a few more!

Your previous books included a fantastical element but this is the first to include a character being pulled into a completely different world. What inspired that?

Largely it was a tremendous act of self-indulgence! I read a lot of fantasy and have long fancied trying my hand at writing it. Having it alongside a contemporary narrative felt like a good way to experiment with writing more in that mode. Plus the ideas I had were better suited to that template – one set down by a number of books that I adore: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Skellig by David Almond, Eren by Simon P. Clark. Ultimately it felt quite natural to take a step beyond magic realism into having outright fantasy be a prominent aspect of the overall book.

The two voices are very distinct. Did you find one came to you more easily than the other?

Duncan’s voice came easiest, and therefore first, because the way he thinks – very self aware, wry, always searching for the humour in everything – is quite similar to how I think. The focus on humour in his voice also made him really fun to write.

Owen was a little harder to find. He needed to be more serious and thoughtful, but I didn’t want him to feel like a drag compared to Duncan! His internal pain and struggle needed to be clear without being overwhelming – I didn’t want the reader to find him difficult to be around the way his past friends did before they abandoned him. The answer came in thinking about why Duncan is so immediately struck by Owen – his honesty and openness is refreshing, but also he’s self aware and funny too. They’re actually quite similar people. Those are appealing attributes, and I built his voice from there.

I love your focus on male friendship. Why do you think it is important to have platonic relationships in YA?

The most important relationships most teenagers have are with their friends. Your friends at that age are one of the biggest influences on the person you become during the most significant transitional period of your life. You spend so much time with them, discover and explore your identity in relation to them, build memories together, have all the fights and reconciliations and drama. Losing those friends, whether you fall out spectacularly or simply drift apart, is often far more painful than the end of a romantic relationship. So writing about these platonic relationships, reflecting those experiences and helping young people to navigate them, is really important.

I felt I had something valuable and unique to say about the dynamic of friendships between teenage boys, and that formed the contemporary side of Grief Angels.

Have you had the opportunity to get feedback from teen boys?

I haven’t, to be honest. I don’t know any! I’m hoping my experience of having been a teen boy wasn’t radically different to how it is today!

Do you listen to music when you write?

I can never decide if I prefer writing with or without music! I’ll go through a phase where I’ll write with music on, and then a phase where I decide I concentrate better without it, before slowly creeping back to having music on. The truth is probably that it makes no material difference and at any given moment I’m trying to convince myself that my decision is making me better and more productive.

What are you reading at the moment and who would you recommend it to?

I’ve just finished The Loop by Ben Oliver. It’s a fast-paced, high concept YA dystopia for people who miss The Hunger Games and Maze Runner books. It’s out in April 2020.

Can you tell us anything about your current WIP?

I’m working on two things at the moment, neither of which are YA! I don’t want to say more than that because neither of them may ever see the light of day.

I haven’t abandoned YA – I just felt the need to try my hand at something new before getting cracking on my next YA project.

David Owen

Grief Angels is out on 5th March, thank you to Atom for sending me a copy.

TeenLibrarian Newsletter March 2020

The March issue of the TeenLibrarian Newsletter is available to read online here: https://us20.campaign-archive.com/?u=32ffbca7d353f6dcc0c7c0953&id=3fd33e0f90

UK CILIP School Libraries Group National Training Day: The Power of Us: The Many Roles of School Librarians

CILIP SLG will be holding their annual general meeting and training day on Friday, October 18th at the CILIP headquarters in London.

The course will explore the many roles that school librarians have in their schools. It will provide opportunities for librarians to share their experiences and learn from their peers as well as hear from leading children’s authors.

Topics include: librarians and great school libraries; librarians as reading promoters; librarians reaching out across the world; librarians as creators and developers and librarians as teachers and information skills developers

To book a place, please follow the link: https://www.cilip.org.uk/events/register.aspx?id=1258474
Costs: CILIP Members £50 + VAT, Non Members £65 + VAT

Closing date for bookings: Friday 11th October

The SLG will also be launching their latest Book Group Discussion packs at the AGM. This is entitled Girl Power, there will be a secondary as well as a primary pack.

It focuses, as you might expect, on books with strong female characters.

You can find out about previous discussion packs here: https://archive.cilip.org.uk/school-libraries-group/reading-guides

Interactive Display: One Small Step for Man

Moon Landing Display

Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing next weekend I put together an interactive display around the historic moment.

Kids are able to measure their foot against Neil Armstrong’s 9.5 moon boot size.

If you are interested in putting together your own display you can download the materials in US and UK formats below.

You can download an image of the Moon for the backdrop from NASA here

American Letter size


Download (PDF, Unknown)

Download (PDF, Unknown)

UK A4 size

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Teen Librarian Newsletter

The first issue of the all-new TeenLibrarian Newsletter is now available to read here: TeenLibrarian Newsletter

Cressida Cowell Announced as New Waterstones Children’s Laureate

Books are transformative because of their unique ability to develop three key magical powers: intelligence, creativity and, most important of all, empathy. Words are power; let’s take magic seriously.

Cressida Cowell, Waterstones Children’s Laureate

http://www.childrenslaureate.org.uk/

Tuesday 9 July, London: Cressida Cowell, the international bestselling author and illustrator of theHow to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once series and the author of the Emily Brown picture books all published by Hachette Children’s Group has today been crowned the Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2019–2021.

Cowell was presented with the iconic silver Laureate medal by the outgoing Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, at a ceremony at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate, awarded once every two years to an eminent children’s author or illustrator to honour outstanding achievement in their field. The ‘League of Laureates’ – including Quentin Blake, Malorie Blackman and Jacqueline Wilson – are the foremost representatives of children’s literature, showcasing the extraordinary and dynamic art form and its rich contribution to UK culture.

Managed by BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, and sponsored by Waterstones, each Laureate brings their own passion to the prestigious role to create a unique legacy. Today, the new Laureate unveiled the Cressida Cowell Waterstones Children’s Laureate Charter, a ‘giant to-do list’ to help ensure that books and reading are available to absolutely everyone. The charter asserts that every child has the right to:

  1. Read for the joy of it
  2. Access NEW books in schools, libraries and bookshops
  3. Have advice from a trained librarian or bookseller
  4. Own their OWN book
  5. See themselves reflected in a book
  6. Be read aloud to
  7. Have some choice in what they read
  8. Be creative for at least 15 minutes a week
  9. See an author event at least ONCE
  10. Have a planet to read on

At the ceremony, Cowell spoke about the importance of school libraries and her plans to campaign for these to be made statutory, and, along with public libraries and librarians, funded properly. Cowell also spoke about helping to develop children’s creative intelligence in the context of the cultural industries and the value they add to the UK economy and beyond, arguing for creative space on the curriculum.