Stan Lee Excelsior Award Shortlist 2014

Stan Lee Excelsior Award

Regular readers of Heart will know all about this amazing Reading Award, now in its fourth year.  It is currently the only award for graphic novels in the UK, and is immensely popular.  Run by Sheffield Librarian Paul Register, the numbers grow from year to year.  If you wish to register, or just see which books made the shortlist this year so that you can buy them for your own library, then follow go to the website.

School Librarian Lyn Hopson amongst top 10 Literacy Heroes!

National Literacy Trust logoOn Heart we are really pleased to announce that Lyn Hopson from a school in Doncaster is one of the top 10 Literacy Heroes named by the National Literacy Trust.  Also Teaching Assistant Velda Jackson from Leeds was nominated by her school librarian, and made the list.  They share the honour of being in the top ten with luminaries such as JK Rowling and Henry Winkler.  Read the report on the BBC website here or on the National Literacy Trust website here.  Congratulations to Lyn and Velda – and everyone else on the list who is working to show that reading – and libraries – DO make a difference!

Catalyst Book Award shortlist announced!

Catalyst Longlist plain


The Catalyst Book Awards 2014 was launched on Thursday 7th November at the Chryston Cultural Centre in North Lanarkshire. In the audience were pupils from Chryston and Caldervale high schools along with visiting librarians, all excited to find out which books had made it onto the longlist. The pupils were treated to an entertaining talk from Catalyst 2013 Award winner, Elizabeth Wein. She kept the pupils enthralled talking about her book ‘Code Name Verity’ and tales of women pilots throughout history. Elizabeth then had the honour of announcing the 16 books that had made it through the committee’s criteria to be in with a chance of being voted the best read for teenagers in 2014.

Catalyst is all about discovering and promoting the most exciting and thought provoking reading for teenagers in North Lanarkshire. This year we have a larger number of books in the longlist which hopefully means we are able to cater for all tastes.

Young people from all 24 North Lanarkshire High schools are encouraged to get involved in the Catalyst experience in a number of ways; from book groups within school or public libraries, to author visits and book reviews on the blog. Young people will then vote on which books in the longlist should make it onto the Catalyst shortlist and go forward to win the Catalyst Book Award 2014.  For more information visit the blog at:

Carnegie Shortlist 2013

Now that you have all had the chance to look at the shortlist, and read some of the books, what do you think?  I think that this is a very strong list, with a good mixture for boys and girls, a much more balanced list than for a couple of years.  It is also much harder to predict a winner on this list.  If you want to take part in a Twitter conversation about the shortlist this year then follow the hashtag #tweetCKG

Time to register for the Stan Lee Excelsior Comic Book Award

It’s time to register for the most original book award, the Stan Lee Excelsior Comic Book Award.  Registration is now open, and the shortlist for the 2013 award is announced in mid-December. Registration is free, all it will cost you is £75 for each set of the shortlisted books you want for your school.  You can read up about the award on the website here:  Express your interest in registering by emailing Paul Register, founder of the award on this email address:

T S Eliot Prize Shadowing Scheme

The shortlist has been announced for the 2012 T S Eliot Prize.  The 10 shortlisted poets and their works are:

  • Simon Armitage The Death of King Arthur
  • Sean Borodale Bee Journal
  • Gillian Clarke ICE
  • Julia Copus The World’s Two Smallest Humans
  • Paul Farley The Dark Film
  • Jorie Graham P L A C E
  • Kathleen Jamie The Overhaul
  • Sharon Olds Stag’s Leap
  • Jacob Polley The Havocs
  • Deryn Rees-Jones Bringing the Wren

The Poetry Book Society in partnership with the English and Media Centre are also running a shadowing scheme.  Open to GCSE and A level students, students are encouraged to read the poems and to take part in a poll vote for their choice of winner.  A level (or equivalent) students can also enter an essay competition to write the best 500 word rationale for their choice of poet.

This would be a perfect opportunity for a reading group to participate in the shadowing scheme as along with two poems from each of the 10 shortlisted collections discussion ideas and biographies are also available.  All downloads are available at  A teachers guide is also available on the emagazine website at

The emagazine also includes 6 suggestions for schools and colleges on how to organise the reading and discussion of the poems at

The deadline for rational entries and student poll closes on 18th December 2012.  The Award Ceremony with the announcement of the T S Eliot winner along with the student poll and winning student rationale is on 14th January 2013 at the Wallace Collection, London.


Excelsior Award winners

The winners of the second Stan Lee Excelsior Award have been announced – see the website for details:  This is only the second year that this award has won, but 57 schools took part and it is rapidly becoming one of the big events of the school year.  The author of the winning book, Tom Taylor, was thrilled and tweeted about getting the award.  This is an inspirational and unique award, the brainchild of school librarian Paul Register.  If your school did not take part this year, perhaps you will consider taking part next year.  The role of graphic novels/comics in children’s reading has long been neglected and ignored; Paul with his award has pushed it right to the front and shown how credible reading these books can be.  All of the books in the shortlist deserve a place in any school library – have a look at the website for more details and an interview with Paul himself.

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:  (Guardian)  and (Telegraph)

Costa Children’s Award Winner Announced

Moira Young is the winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award for her dystopian thriller Blood Red Road.  It was a strong shortlist for the Children’s Award with Frank Cottrell Boyce, Martyn Bedford and Lissa Evans all being nominated.

Other category winners:

Novel award: Pure by Andrew Miller

First novel award: Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson

Biography award: Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas by Matthew Hollis

Poetry Award: The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy

We now wait to hear who will be named as oveall winner for 2012.