Urgent questionnaire about the impact of author visits on reading

The Children’s Writers and Illustrator group, part of the Society of Authors has asked all of us to fill in an important questionnaire (link to Google doc at end of post).  Children’s authors Bali Rai and Helena Pielchaty say that the group has met with representatives in the DfE about how to get the Government and Ofsted to recognise the value of libraries in schools and the impact of author visits on reading.  The committee was advised that any letter sent to Sir Michael Wilshaw (Ofsted) would have to have evidence to back it up.  This survey is to collect the evidence from all of us.  We all know that author visits always generate interest in that author’s books, and reading, so I think we can all give a positive response to this.  The responses need to be in by November 12th, please email them to sbaxter@societyofauthors.org.  Thank you.  Link to survey here:https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B0ejuseTrf-3TkJndjNVMUdFZXc

A Monster Calls wins double accolade

A Monster Calls made history when it became the first book to win both the Carnegie and Greenaway awards.  Patrick Ness became only the second author to win the award on two simultanous years, and Jim Kay won the Greenaway for his stunning illustrations.  It is fitting that this book, which I consider to be one of the must-read books of the decade, should win this unique accolade.  In his acceptance speech, Patrick Ness criticised the government policy of closing libraries.  If you would like to read more about this, then have a look at these articles:http://tinyurl.com/cf2mr7p  (Guardian)  and http://tinyurl.com/c5a7rmr (Telegraph)

Catalyst Book Awards 2011

 

Our Lady’s High School in Motherwell recently hosted the 8th North Lanarkshire Catalyst Awards, presented to the best teenage book of the year. Hundreds of 3rd and 4thyear pupils and 4 excited but nervous authors were present to see  Alex Scarrow awarded Catalyst winner of 2011for his book ‘Time Riders’.

“A lovely award to win – the RIGHT kind of award to win, because it’s the students that vote. I had a fantastic and memorable day.”Alex Scarrow awarded Catalyst winner of 2011for his book ‘Time Riders’.

Young People from all 24 secondary schools and public libraries in North Lanarkshire were invited to take part in voting for the overall winner from an exciting shortlist of 4 great books.

Grass by Cathy Macphail , Time Riders by Alex Scarrow, Where I Belong by Gillian Cross, and  When I was Joe by Keren David

The response to the voting this year was overwhelming, helping to keep the Catalyst awards driven by the people that matter – the readers. Young people were involved in every aspect of the Catalyst Awards, from helping to choose the shortlist, posting reviews on the Catalyst blog and voting for the winner. This year saw the continued use of the Catalyst blog, here young people had a chance to post reviews on the books they had read, find out information about each book on the long list and interact with pupils from across the authority. This year in conjunction with the Catalyst blog a competition was held to see which school could write the most reviews and which pupil could write the best review.The winners were:

Damon A from Caldervale High School, Airdrie – for the best individual review on the blog.

Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell – for the school that wrote the most reviews on the blog.

And their prize is an author visit of their choice for both schools.

The Catalyst Awards ceremony was hosted by pupils from schools across North Lanarkshire. Each author was introduced by different pupils and the pupils asked lots of interesting questions to the authors during the Q&A section of the ceremony. A special mention has to go to the pupils from Our Lady’s High School; they were involved in lots of different aspects of the ceremony. The Duke of Edinburgh pupils produced the programmes and helped set up the event and the pupils from Intermediate II Hospitality provided lunch for the authors and special guests. Photography club assisted with taking pictures on the day and the Writers Club were on hand to entertain the authors during the day.The Catalyst committee would like to express a huge thank you to everyone who was involved in making this years awards such a success. A special thank you goes to everyone at Our Lady’s High School Motherwell for hosting the awards.

To find out more about Catalyst please visit our blog @ http://catalystnlc.wordpress.com/

 

 

Joe Craig tells us of his ideal school visit

Read this very funny, but straight talking guest blog post by Joe Craig on the best and worst author visits.  It gives some really good tips from the author’s perspective – and I know I had fun identifying whether my school visit with him had more of the School of Perfection or Hellsville!  Read it on the Library Mice blog.  The picture is of Joe signing books at his very successful and popular visit to our school during Book Week 2010.

Carnegie and Greenaway Award winners

Carnegie Greenaway winners 2011

Congratulations to the winning authors of the prestigious Carnegie and Greenaway Awards this year.  Patrick Ness won the Carnegie Medal  for the last brilliant book in his trilogy ‘Chaos Walking’, and Grahame Baker-Smith won the Greenaway Medal for the beautiful picture book ‘FArTHER’.  An interview with Patrick Ness in the Independent questions why he puts violence into his teenage books, to which Patrick has some very interesting answers.  Patrick Ness’s acceptance speech can be found in this article in the Guardian, in which he makes an amazing, passionate defence of libraries, and school libraries in particular.  Patrick refers to himself as ‘the child that libraries built’ and says ‘That’s what librarians do.  They open up the world.  Because knowledge is useless if you don’t know how to find it, if you don’t even know where to begin to look’.  The speech is well worth reading, and passing on to everyone who matters in your school.  It’s been a year where authors are speaking out for school libraries – Michael Morpurgo, then Julia Donaldson, and now Patrick Ness.  Lets hope Ed Vaizey and Michael Gove are listening!

Morpurgo wins Red House Award for third time

ShadowMichael Morpurgo wins the Red House Award for the third time with his book Shadow. This award is voted for solely by children. The book is about a boy from Afghanistan who is befriended by a dog when he is fleeing the horrors of war. See this report in the Guardian for more information,  and also the Red House Book site.  Morpurgo is a very popular children’s author, who has already given us the wonderful War Horse, as well as Private Peaceful,  and Kensuke’s Kingdom amongst others.

New Children’s Laureate announced!

Julia DonaldsonAs you probably know by now, the new Children’s Laureate has been announced as Julia Donaldson.  She is the wonderful author of the Gruffalo, amongst other books, and she is also a library campaigner.  Read a blog post from Tricia Adams from the SLA who was at the ceremony and witnessed Julia promising to speak against the closure of libraries.  Let’s hope she gets on board with the school library agenda as well!  A statement of support from Julia for those excellent campaigners against the closure of public libraries,  Voices for the Library, can be found here, which expands further on her feelings on the important role that libraries play in the future of our children.

Margaret Atwood affirms the importance of school librarians

In a speech at Book Expo America, the largest book trade fair in North America, Margaret Atwood, author of many wonderful books, including ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘The Blind Assassin’, spoke of the importance of school librarians, saying: ‘The Librarian is the key person you don’t want to remove from a school’.  Thank you Margaret, for standing up for all of us.  Read more about this story here

World Book Night boosts sales of books

Interesting report from the Bookseller: 

Alan Bennett’s A Life Like Other People’s, one of the 25 books given away for free on World Book Night recently, takes second position in the chart thanks to a 202% week-on-week sales boost. Another of the 25, Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, also earns a place in the chart. The terrific sales performances of all 25 “freebie” titles continue to confound World Book Night critics who suggested flooding the market with 1,000,000 free books would have a negative impact on sales.