Archive for the ‘Children’s Book News’ Category

Harpercollins Children’s Books Have Arrived on the Hopster app

Monday, April 10th, 2017

To inspire toddlers to read for fun, Hopster, the preschool learning and entertainment app, has teamed up with HarperCollins Children’s Books to bring its little users a range of hit stories. UK subscribers to Hopster can now access and enjoy a selection of best-loved children’s books on the multi-platform service.


In the newly launched Book Boat section of the app kids can now find all their favourite stories including Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Mog and the Baby, Rachel Bright’s Love Monster, available in ebook, and Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers available in audio. The different formats allow children to discover their favourite characters as well as magical new stories in a multi-sensory way.


To celebrate the arrival of books on Hopster, for a limited time, subscribers will receive a HarperCollins picture book with their annual subscription for only £35. That’s a saving of over 27% and a free book that can be selected from a range of classic children’s books.


Hopster can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play, helping parents who are after a safe and ad-free platform. In one magical app kids will be entertained by hundreds of preschool TV episodes, nursery rhymes, games and now books.












Find out more about Hopster now:

UK Literacy Association Book Awards 2017

Monday, March 6th, 2017


  • For the first time illustrated books in all three age categories
  • Past winner Philip Reeve shortlisted in two categories with Brian Selznick, Gill Lewis and Benji Davies each with potential second award
  • Debut authors challenge medal winning heavyweights in each category

 @The_UKLA  #UKLA17   #teachersbookawards

For the first time ever the awards that come with the teachers’ guarantee that these are the books which get their classes reading have an author shortlisted simultaneously in two age categories. Philip Reeve’s creative partnership with Sarah McIntyre will be looking to repeat their 2015 triumph in the 7-11 category. But they face stiff competition from another previous winner Gill Lewis who won with her debut novel, Sky Hawk in 2012. Debut authors Ross Welford and S.E.Durrant will see that as a very good omen. Completing the 7-11 list is the 2014 shortlisted author Katherine Rundell and the Kate Greenaway longlisted title The Journey by Francesca Sanna: a powerful picturebook which teacher judges described as “taking children to new experiences outside their own”.

Philip Reeve’s science fiction Railhead secured his second shortlisting in the 12-16 category, but once again he is up against stiff competition with the previously Highly Commended Brian Selznick. They both face competition from a cosmopolitan list which features Selznick’s American compatriot Gary.D.Schmidt, Canadian Susin Nielsen and Alaskan Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s Carnegie longlisted debut title. Joining Philip in representing home grown talent is previously shortlisted award winner Jenny Valentine .

The 3-6 category sees Benji Davies repeating his 2016 shortlisting and hoping to improve upon his Highly Commended award. He will be up against Greenaway winner Emily Gravett, the inaugural Amnesty CILIP Honour winner, Ross Collins, Roald Dahl Funny Prize winning Jim Field in a new partnership with Rachel Bright and impressive debuts from Lucy Ruth Cummings and David Litchfield.

All three age categories once again show the fresh perspective that class teachers can bring to the judging process in their search for books which can “enhance all aspects of literacy learning”,  as required by the criteria. This makes them particularly useful as co-sponsor Peter Crawshaw, Director and Co-founder of Lovereading4kids said:

“Lovereading4schools and its sister site Lovereading4kids are delighted to support the UKLA Book Awards. The fact that the teacher judges reflect on their students’ responses to the books gives the award huge credibility and trust that schools use to know the books will be loved by their own pupils. The awards are equally valuable for parents. We can’t wait to see the eventual winners as the shortlisted books are all simply excellent.”

The enthusiastic judging discussions revealed how much teachers welcomed the opportunity to widen their knowledge of recent children’s titles and enjoyed talking together in order to decide which books would best match the criteria for the award:

There have been so many great spin-offs from that initial decision to get involved: seeing teachers who had never been big readers catching the reading bug, avid readers who found a whole new treasure trove of books to keep them up reading till the small hours, colleagues queuing up to borrow the books and so many children inspired to share this reading journey with them. Jess Anderson, Group Leader

For UKLA, giving classroom practitioners the opportunity to read a number of new quality children’s books is as important as finding an overall winner. Research carried out by members of UKLA (Cremin et al 2008) clearly demonstrated the links between teachers’ knowledge of children’s books and the likelihood of pupils becoming successful readers. Despite this evidence, teachers are seldom given time to read new books or funding to purchase them when they do. As Awards Chair Lynda Graham said:

Teacher judges in education authorities across Scotland clearly delighted in opportunities to discuss the best of newly- published, quality books with teacher colleagues and to share these books with children and young people in their classrooms. 

12 teachers nominated from the 55 involved in the shortlisting, who came from Aberdeen City, North Ayrshire, Dundee, Edinburgh, East Lothian, Falkirk and Renfrewshire, will now form the final judging panel and have the challenging task of reading all the shortlisted books in all three age categories, which will mean nursery teachers reading fiction for teenagers and secondary teachers reading picturebooks!

The winners will be announced on June 30th at the UKLA International Conference, University of Strathclyde

For further information and to request an interview with the shortlisted authors and illustrators, or for images, please contact fao Lynda Graham
The Shortlists in full


The Lion Inside written by Rachel Bright and illustrated by Jim Field (Orchard Books)

There’s a Bear on MY Chair written and illustrated by Ross Collins (Nosy Crow)

A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals written and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins (Simon & Schuster)

Grandad’s Island written and illustrated by Benji Davies(Simon & Schuster)

Tidy written and illustrated by Emily Gravett (Two Hoots)

The Bear and the Piano written and illustrated by David Litchfield (Frances Lincoln)



Little Bits of Sky written by S.E Durrant and illustrated by Katie Harnett (Nosy Crow)

Gorilla Dawn written by Gill Lewis(Oxford University Press)

Pugs of the Frozen North written and illustrated by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre (Oxford University Press)

The Wolf Wilder written by Katherine Rundell and illustrated by Gelrev Ongbico (Bloomsbury)

The Journey written and illustrated by Francesca Sanna (Flying Eye Books)

Time Travelling with a Hamster written by Ross Welford (HarperCollins)



The Smell of Other People’s Houses written by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (Faber &Faber)

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen written by Susin Nielsen (Andersen Press)

 Orbiting Jupiter written by Gary .D. Schmidt (Andersen Press)

Railhead written by Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press)

The Marvels written and illustrated by Brian Selznick (Scholastic)

Fire Colour One written by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins)

Can you name the children’s book from the opening line?

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

With World Book Day upon us once again why not take the quiz below to find out how well you know your Children’s books…

Many thanks to Ruth Ward Library & Resources Manager at Great Torrington School Torrington in Devon for sending through a brilliantly fiendish quiz for World Book Day she created for the pupils at her school where you have to guess the Children’s book and author by just the opening line.

Do have fun and do share.

It’s not easy – but fear not you can CLICK HERE to download a document with the whole quiz in a beautifully visual form and the answers.

‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ Through the Pages of a Book! (Dr. Seuss)

Opening lines: Can you name the book and the author?

  1. ‘All children, except one, grows up.’
  2. ‘When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.’
  3. ‘In a hole in the ground there lived a ………….’
  4. “Dad. He keeps saying it.”
  5. ‘Small Sam was playing in the car park behind Waitrose when the grown-ups took him.’
  6. ‘The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.’
  7. ‘……………. discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house.’
  8. ‘The boat moved with a nauseous, relentless rhythm, like someone chewing a rotten tooth.’
  9. ‘We came on the wind of the carnival.’
  10. ‘Once I was living in an orphanage in the mountains and I shouldn’t have been and I almost caused a riot.’

Finish a story started by Branford Boase Award winner Horatio Clare

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Call for entries: 2017 Henrietta Branford Writing Competition.  For young people who enjoy writing stories!


The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition, the annual competition for young people which runs in conjunction with the Branford Boase Award, is now open.


The Branford Boase Award recognises a debut children’s author and their editor and was set up in memory of the outstanding children’s writer Henrietta Branford and the gifted editor, Wendy Boase, Editorial Director of Walker Books. They both died of cancer in 1999.


The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition aims to find and encourage writers of the future, something Henrietta Branford was always keen to do.


‘The night we left was wild, clouds dashing across the moon and trees rocking and shushing in a wind so strong is seemed to make the stars blink and spin…’


The 2017 competition is open now and anyone under the age of 19 can enter. Entrants are invited to complete a story begun by last year’s winner, author of Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, Horatio Clare.


The story should be no longer than 1000 words, must follow on from the starter paragraph, and have a title. All entrants must live in the UK and be under 19 years of age. Entries will be judged by Prue Goodwin,consultant and lecturer in children’s literature. She says: ‘We are looking for stories that keep the reader wanting to know what is going to happen from beginning to end, are imaginative and unpredictable, and are written with a genuine reader in mind’.


Six winners will be invited to attend the Branford Boase Award celebration party in London in July. There they will meet Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Horatio Clare and the authors shortlisted for the 2107 award as well as editors, publishers, agents, and other professionals in this field. They will receive a copy of each of the books shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and be able to have their books signed.


The closing date for the competition is Saturday 22 April 2017.


For more information about the award and the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition visit . 

Live in or near Dorset? Discover a delightful play coming to a local venue near you in half-term

Friday, January 13th, 2017

‘The Fisherman’s Daughter’ Part I& II by The AsOne Theatre Company

‘Heart-warming, intimate family theatre with song, music, and puppetry dusted with AsOne magic.’


The Fisherman’s Daughter – is an adventure-packed double bill of plays** for all the family to enjoy with an unlikely hero, Harold, a joker of a one-legged seagull.  Using classical marine literature in an inspiring way; all ages have found this cleverly layered play enthralling.

“My daughter loved it and even her grumpy grandpa thought it was brill’, especially making the sea noises”


*Part I: Sea-Monsters & Pirates Ten year old Jess nightly worries about the return of her fisherman father. Then colourful, Moira arrives with her one-legged seagull friend, Harold; a rollicking, affecting adventure, & an unlikely friendship.


**Part II: Jess’s OdysseyThe Fisherman’s Daughter Jess loves reading but Homer’s Odyssey confuses her. Up pops a stranger, who just happens to have the same name as the author Homer, a Greek boy from a trawler in the harbour, holds a very bedraggled one legged seagull he has rescued from the water. All three embark on an Odyssey searching for the missing Moira.

AsOne theatre company presents in association with Arts Council England/ Dorset Libraries

Music – Joe Butcher     Written & Directed – Peter John Cooper   Puppet – Polly Beeston


FD Part I only*/ FD Part II**/Double bill ***

             Tour List February – March 2017

Sun 12 Feb 2.30 pm ***The Regal Theatre Minehead TA24 5UQ 01643706430
Tues 14 Feb 2.30 pm **Gillingham Library Gillingham SP8 4UA 01747822180
Wed 15 Feb 11.00 am **Weymouth Library Weymouth DT4 8NN 01305762410
Thurs 16 Feb 11.00 am **Bridport Library Bridport DT6 3NY 01308422778
Fri 17 Feb 11.00 am **Dorchester Library Dorchester DT1 1EF 01305224440
Sat 18 Feb 3.00 pm *The Mowlem Theatre Swanage BH19 1DD 01929422239
Sat 25 Feb 2.30 pm ***The Princess Theatre Burnham-on-Sea TA8 1EH 01278784464
Sun 26 Feb 3.00 pm *The Athenaeum Centre Warminster BA12 9AE 01985213891
Sat 4 Mar 3.00 pm ***Groundlings Theatre Portsmouth PO1 3BS 02392737370
Sun 5 Mar 3.00 pm *Shelley Theatre Bournemouth BH5 1LX 01202413600
Sat 18 Mar 2.30 pm *St Francis Church  Weymouth DT3 6SB  01305815366

Issue Two of SCOOP a new magazine for children aged 8 – 12 out this month

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Serving a feast of thought-fizzling fiction, features, creative competitions and awesome activities in every collectible forty-page launched with a big fanfare in September 2016 and Issue 2 is out this month .

Scoop is an exciting new monthly print magazine for children aged 8–12. Perfect for collecting, sharing and inspiring discussion and creativity, Scoop will publish ten times a year and feature:

★ Spellbinding stories, poetry and graphic fiction from top children’s writers and illustrators. Confirmed contributors include:
Neil Gaiman Eoin Colfer Laura Dockrill Abi Elphinstone
Emerald Fennell
David Roberts John Agard Catherine Johnson Gareth P. Jones Lucy Coats Chris Priestley A. F. Harrold Philip Womack
★Brain-boggling non-fiction covering current affairs, science, sport and MORE! ★Inspiring illustrations by leading artists
★Cool comic strips and cartoons
★Entertaining activities, puzzles and jokes
★Rousing reviews and recommendations
★Engaging reader contributions and competitions
★Kids book reviews from Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel



The seeds of Scoop were sown when founder and publisher Clementine Macmillan-Scott discovered the Children’s Newspaper while researching a book for her mother, Juliet Nicolson. Inspired by its thought-provoking content and popularity (it sold 500,000 copies a week in its heyday), and by her own literary background, Clementine began to explore the possibility of creating a child-focused print platform for the twenty-first century – a collectible, gorgeously designed magazine that celebrates the creative spirit in this Golden Age of children’s literature and illustration. After months of planning and fundraising, Clementine assembled a small team of respected publishing and design professionals and formed Curious Publishing Ltd as a platform through which to publish Scoop.


Scoop will be available in print editions and primarily sold through subscription, but also available in selected independent bookshops from October. The digital strategy is also being developed to create a online platform. Subscriptions can be purchased from from September. Scoop costs £40 for an annual family subscription for ten issues, and £160 for an annual school subscription (five copies of ten issues). Trial offers are also available to early subscribers.


Founder and Publisher: Clementine Macmillan-Scott. Clementine was Coordinator of the Galle Literary Festival and the Galle Children’s Festival. She has worked in books all her life, except for a brief stint as a costume designer.
Editor-in-Chief: Sarah Odedina. Formerly Editor-in-Chief for Bloomsbury Children’s, where she oversaw Harry Potter, Sarah launched Hot Key Books and is now Editor-at-Large for Pushkin Press. ★Marketing and Publicity Direction: Joanne Owen. Joanne is a writer and reviewer who has previously held marketing roles at Bloomsbury, Macmillan, Walker and Nosy Crow.

Art Direction: LOVERS Agency (Alex Ostrowski and Arthur Carey). ★Original Co-founders: Anna Baddeley and Philip Womack.

For further information, please sign up at ★Email: Follow us on Twitter: @scoop_the_mag ★ Instagram: @scoopmag 

Make your child part of a beautifully illustrated story… the perfect Christmas Gift

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

We have come across a beautiful ‘bookie’ idea that we think is a brilliant Christmas gift, so we wanted to share it with you.

miab1It’s called Message in a Bottle and your personal message (the actual message in a bottle) including date, text and an optional picture seamlessly becomes part of the story. Educational, enchanting and full of adventure we can see it being read many many times.

With words by Tom Percival and illustrations by Tuire Siiriainen each book is digitally printed and is unique and the feedback from readers is lovely…

miab2‘Read mine to the kids today and had to stop self from crying – it really did make me very emotional! Very special book indeed.’Kelly Allen

‘Oh my goodness!! Our book just arrived!! It’s incredible!! The quality is superb. The story and illustrations… Ah. It really is amazing. To think what I’ve paid for personalised books in the past that don’t even come close. This really is something special.’Rebecca Taylor

miab3‘Message in a Bottle would make a wonderful gift for any young child.  It’s particularly special for those you don’t see quite as often as you’d like.  The online ordering process is very simple and the book was delivered quickly, it even came with a sheet of beautiful wrapping paper so I could gift wrap it myself.  This really is a lovely way for a child in your life to become part of a delightful story and receive a rather special gift from you.’ Shelley

Find out more at Softcover books are £19.95 and Hardcover £29.95 and to get one in time for Christmas order by 16 December.

Also we have just heard that the lovely people at Message in a Bottle have added some ‘Christmas Templates’ – find out more on their blog











Below is a video that explains a bit more

Find out more on their facebook page


See below for an article on the book written by the author Tom Percival.

Words (and Pictures)

I’ve always loved stories—reading them, making them, hearing them, illustrating them… you get where I’m going with this, right? I love stories. And I’m not alone, our whole lives are built around stories. We listen to stories in songs, read them in books, share them when we talk with our friends. Even a simple question like,

‘How was your day at school today?’ is an invitation to tell a story (one that my children usually decline by just saying, ‘Yeah… good.’

We build up our personalities from the continually evolving stories that we pull from our different memories and experiences. Rolling it all up into a big ball of story dough that we can mould into whatever shape we like and then bake into, err… story bread? Story cakes? Hmm, I don’t know, I think I might have pushed the whole story-baking thing a bit too far there.  Let’s move on…

It was my love of stories that led me into the career that I now have as a children’s author and illustrator. I believe that stories have the power to communicate a truth, to help you form a better picture of the world. Although the actual events in a book of fiction are made up (you could even say a sort of lie), what they actually do is communicate a truth about the world. Truth out of lies—I like that idea. And that’s not to mention the sheer fun involved in making up characters and worlds that you can explore and introduce other people to as well.

Initially I started out illustrating other people’s stories. I spent most of my time drawing as a child, (lots of pictures of He-Man, Transformers and skeletons since you asked) and so it was drawing that I first became good at. Just as a quick note to all you aspiring writers, illustrators, musicians, footballers, astronauts, or anything else, if you want to get good at doing something, just do it a lot – you get there the end, I promise!

I was lucky enough to create the cover art for the Skulduggery Pleasant series (I knew all those skeleton pictures were a good idea!), which gave me a kick-start to my illustration career and meant that I got to illustrate books for lots of other fantastic authors.

After a couple of years of illustrating I also started writing my own stories and I’ve now had lots of picture books out, including Herman’s Letter, Jack’s Amazing Shadow and most recently, By the Light of the Moon

2016 then saw the launch of the Little Legends series of illustrated chapter books for newly independent readers. It’s been great to have a few more words to play with, and to be able to explore a world and the characters within it in a bit more detail. Not only that, 2016 also saw the arrival of an email from Tuire Siiriainen, with an invitation to collaborate on a personalized picture book that she was developing with her company Blueberry and Pie. Now, this was all very exciting because Tuire was asking me to write a story that she would be illustrating. I was so used to writing and illustrating my own work that at first I wasn’t sure how it would all pan out. When I usually write a picture book, I have in mind what will happen in the illustrations, right from the start, but that wasn’t going to be possible with this book. Any concerns I had about how the interpretation of the text would work were washed away when Tuire sent over the character designs and sample spreads she had already worked up—they were absolutely fantastic, and I knew straight away that it was going to be a great partnership.

After I’d written the story, Tuire would send through each one of her bright, fun-packed illustrations as she finished them. It was so exciting to see the book come together in that way. Ordinarily, the illustrating phase of a picture book is something of a blur for me as it’s a really intensive period of work, so it was great to be able to sit back and see it all just ‘happen’ in front of me without having to pick up a single pencil! We also had a great team working with us, helping with the design, editing and packaging of the book. It felt as though everyone realized it was a really special project to work on.

Working on a personalized book held a few new challenges for me, mainly creating a story with all the required personalization details that still felt engaging in it’s own right. In this case, the story is about the discovery of a message in a bottle that is found floating halfway around the world and is addressed to the reader. So the child’s name and address features throughout the story and then at the end, the message that was in the bottle is revealed to be whatever you chose to write to the person you are giving the book to. It’s a great way of personalizing a book and will make all young readers excited to feature so prominently in a book.

My most important contribution to the project was the creation of Kiki, a lively and irrepressible young bird who has never seen much of the world before she sets off on an epic journey to deliver the message she has found to the reader’s home.  So as far as I was concerned, the story is about Kiki’s journey of discovery as she tries to do something that she has never done before. New challenges are always daunting and Kiki has moments of over-confidence and also self-doubt, which I’m sure anyone who has ever tried to do anything new can relate too! Eventually she manages to overcome all the obstacles and meets lots of different and exciting characters, some of which are more helpful than others. I would tell you more, but I think you should read the book for yourself—it’s far more fun like that!

I really enjoyed writing Kiki’s story and I hope that you and your children enjoy reading it and being part of the adventure too.

Mid-October eNewsletter

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

With Half term and Hallowe’en coming up and yes, even Christmas fast advancing, Lovereading4kids is here to help you choose the most brilliant books for any child that you know, from baby to teenager. Read on for more…

Boo! – Hello Hallowe’en!

It doesn’t have to be all costumes, face paints, tricks and treats this Hallowe’en. There are also several ‘enchanting’ books to get kids in the ‘spirit’ of things in our special Hallowe’en category. Get out from behind the sofa and check them out!

Drawn Together! – Picture Book Party

There are few greater joys than sharing wonderful picture books with kids. This is our category which brings you together and gets them loving reading from an early age. With new titles for Autumn, there’s no better time to join the party! Click here for more.

One Stop Shop – Our Autumn Highlights

Lovereading4kids staff have come up with some of their favourites out this autumn – every one a winner we think:


Give us the Willis! – The Books of Jeanne Willis

With over 80 titles under her belt and no more space on the mantelpiece for awards, Jeanne Willis is one of our most prolific children’s authors. It’s impossible to choose favourites among her fabulously enjoyable and accessible books for very young readers. But, Who’s in The Loo? (3+) is celebrating its tenth anniversary this month and is a raucous, rhyming romp that will resonate with anyone who’s endured the ‘loo queue’ first thing!

Riddell me This! – Ottoline Series by Chris Riddell

Amateur roving collector and wearer of odd shoes, Ottoline lives with her best friend, a Norwegian bog-person who hates having his hair brushed and being mistaken for a dog. Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell’s beautifully illustrated and quirky adventures are unique, imaginative and elegant. 7+ readers will love to explore every page and younger ones will relish hearing them out loud. Find out more about the latest title; Ottoline and the Purple Fox and what our Reader Reviewers thought of it…


What Now? – “If They Like, They’ll Love”. That’s What!

You’ve devoured a whole series by a favourite author and you’re hungry for more. But where do you turn to find your next great read? Our If They Like, They’ll Love section introduces you to authors who are right up your street. Click here to get started.

If they like Roald Dahl they’ll love the outrageous War Next Door; A Storey Street book from Phil Earle. If they like Dick King-Smith’s animal stories they’ll love the warm-hearted A Piglet Called Truffle by Helen Peters.
7 7

New Addictive Reading for older children

Robert Muchamore, the author of the global Cherub series, has created a new hard-hitting battle of the bands series called Rock War that our older reader reviewers just loved calling it ‘funny‘ ‘brilliant‘ ‘witty‘ ‘ingenious‘ and ‘gripping.’

With its heady mix of glamour and grit, and a cast of characters who run the gamut from smart, self-aware cynics to easily led-astrays, this is a seriously addictive read. The third in the series Gone Wild (13+) is just out.

Kids-mas Presents!

We know, we know! It’s early. The fake cobwebs are barely up yet and the last thing you want to be thinking about is Christmas. Or is it? Come on, you just had a vision of mince pies and candle-lit choirs, didn’t you? Well, no harm in looking at the bookshelf below and having the briefest of browses to get ahead of the seasonal rush for presents. After all, a book lasts forever and can influence someone for the rest of their life! Go on. Take a look. Just there. Below this or visit our new Christmas 2016 category on the website with even more recommendations.


Original storytelling to capture children’s hearts and minds

Best-selling author Cornelia Funke, whose Inkheart was a world-wide phenomenon, has created another wonderful imaginary world peopled with a gigantic cast of original and outlandish characters who live in Mirrorworld which Jacob Reckless stumbles upon while searching for his missing father.

Full of mortal danger thrills, excitement and adventures there are three books, the first two are out this month and the third, The Golden Yarn is out in early November but we have an exclusive pre-publication extract for you to read.

Kids October Book Festival Round-up

Looking for indoor fun to entertain the kids this autumn? Look no further than the Loogabarooga Festival (19-24 October), win tickets to a Storyteller event at Petworth Literary Weekend (5 November) and enjoy creative fun at Bridlitkids (12 November).

And that is October just about ‘wrapped up’, book-fans! Talking of ‘wrapping’, we’ll be back next month with more top tips and maybe just a few suggestions in case you’re thinking ahead for Christmas. Oh no. we said the ‘c’-word.

P.S. We have some lovely Roald Dahl hardback, full-colour edition paperbacks and some phizzwhizzing postcards which are perfect for gifts this autumn.

The Wicked Young Writers Award for 2017 is open for entries!

Friday, September 23rd, 2016


  • Author-illustrator Cressida Cowell returns as Head Judge
  • Entries now being accepted until 13 March 2017
  • To submit entries visit

wywa-master-artwork-updateTHE WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS, created and sponsored by the award-winning musical Wicked in association with the National Literacy Trust (, is pleased to announce that the acclaimed author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell, will return as Head Judge for the awards for the third consecutive year. Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, will also be returning as part of the judging panel.


Launched in 2010, this is the seventh year of the acclaimed Awards. The initiative raises money for the National Literacy Trust who campaign to improve public understanding of the vital importance of literacy.


This year, the Awards will be launched with two Story Surgery events: at the Young Adult Literature Weekender at the Southbank, London on 15 and 16 October, for 13+ year olds, and at the StoryStock Festival at the Lyric Hammersmith, London on 27 and 28 October, for 7-12 year olds. Young people will be able to take part in special, free workshops with published writers including young adult writers Nicole Burstein, Tamara MacFarlane and Lisa Williamson.


The Awards will work in partnership with Young Writers, CLPE (the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education), First Story, Just Imagine, NAWE (National Association of Writers in Education) and Pobble.


Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall is Patron of the Awards, set up to encourage and recognise excellence in writing, and creativity, and help develop literacy and writing talent in young people between the ages of 5 and 25. Since launching, over 25,000 young people have entered original and thought-provoking pieces of writing that consistently reflect the interests, concerns and deepest thoughts of young people, providing a first-look at the emerging voices of a new generation.


How to Train Your Dragon author and illustrator Cressida Cowell commented, “Last year’s finalists addressed really big issues – war, homelessness and prejudice. There was an incredible range of styles and an array of brilliantly original voices, but they all had this in common: they made us judges feel something.”


Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of Wicked said, “We are incredibly proud of this project and greatly indebted to Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, Michael Morpurgo and Cressida Cowell for their support. Their passionate commitment to encouraging creative writing and improving literacy standards amongst young people in the UK is an inspiration to us all.


As in previous years, entrants can enter one of five different age categories; 5-7, 8-10, 11-14, 15-17, 18-25. In addition, the 2017 Awards sees the second year of the FOR GOOD AWARD for Non-Fiction, encouraging 15-25 year olds to write essays or articles that recognise the positive impact that people can have on each other, their communities and the world we live in. This category celebrates the WICKED: FOR GOOD philanthropic programme, which supports the work of multiple charities.


Entrants can submit their writing by visiting, where they will also find writing tips and resources from the Award judges.

14 – 18? Love Books? Want to be a judge on a Book Award?

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2017 are looking for young judge to help discover a new children’s bestseller

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition, the biggest children’s writing competition in the UK, is looking for a confident and passionate young judge with a demonstrable love of books to join the prestigious judging panel and help choose the winner.

Entrants must submit a 1-3 minute video about the book they would most like to persuade others to read. Aspiring judges aged 14-18 have until 28th October to make their short video, upload it to YouTube (or a similar site), and email a link to

The winner will join the judging panel for the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction competition which includes industry experts such as the Times arts editor and children’s books reviewer Alex O’Connell, and Barry Cunningham, the founder of Chicken House and the publisher who discovered J.K. Rowling.

The winner of the young judge competition will have six weeks to read approximately five shortlisted titles before joining the other judges at an exclusive members club in London for a day of judging in spring 2017. The prize also includes: (i) travel and accommodation for the winner and their parent/guardian to the London judging day, (ii) a £50 Waterstones voucher and (iii) five Chicken House titles of their choice.

The prize also includes: 

  • travel and accommodation for the winner and their parent/guardian to the London judging day
  • a £50 Waterstones voucher
  • five Chicken House titles of their choice.

Barry Cunningham says: ‘We’re looking for original, engaging and exciting video entries; the more imaginative, the better. Demonstrate your love of children’s books, your passion for reading and your powers of persuasion and you could have a hand in finding a future bestseller!’

Full details of the young judge competition can be found at

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