Archive for the ‘Special Features’ 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:

Your chance to star in a comic!

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

The Phoenix, the weekly story comic, is looking for the STAR of a NEW COMIC by Neill Cameron for its 300th issue this autumn. That’s right! The Phoenix is opening its pages so a new hero or heroine can be born! Children everywhere are invited to let their imaginations run wild!

The competition is open to all children. To win, entrants need to:

1) Get drawing and create a new comic character! This could be an alter ego, an awesome new hero/heroine or anything else, including them!

2) Show us what makes that character awesome – like a secret power or ability.

3) All great comic characters have an arch-enemy. Draw them too!

Entries can be drawings, a written story or comic, or even a video! The winner will see their character star a in a special 16-page comic illustrated by the amazing Neill Cameron, author of Mega Robo Bros and How to Make Awesome Comics. The new comic will start in Issue 300 and run for 4 weeks.

The competition runs from 6 April to 31st May 2017. Full details are available at thephoenixcomic.co.uk/superstar.

To hear more about the Phoenix Comic Super Star search or more about the amazing stories we publish each week, get in touch and help us celebrate the special place that comics hold in children’s reading and imaginations. Follow the competition at @phoenixcomicuk #phoenixcomicsuperstar.

 

Win a Wheatle

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Win award winning Alex Wheatle visiting your school in 2017! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To celebrate the release of Straight Outta Crongton, the new book from award-winning author Alex Wheatle, the publishers, ATOM, are giving you the chance to win him! Well, not forever, but to have him come to your school for a visit!

He’ll be able to join your class, after which, the possibilities are endless …

Maybe you’d like to ask him questions about his books and how he writes; maybe you’d like him to help you write a story, or get involved in a project you’re working on; maybe you’d like him to read from your favourite book, or get him to make something up on the spot! We even hear he’s a pretty good rapper…

In addition to winning Alex, they will furnish your library with copies of all three of his Crongton books – the Carnegie Prize-nominated Liccle Bit, the Guardian Children’s Prize-winning Crongton Knights AND a hot-off-the-press edition of Straight Outta Crongton.

To find out more and enter CLICK HERE to visit the publishers blog page. Entries close on 30 April 2017.

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 www.branfordboaseaward.org.uk . 

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

Friday, November 25th, 2016

See below for four scrumdiddlyumptious recipe ideas based on Roald Dahl books

roald-dahl-recipes

HARINGEY CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD SHORTLIST 2017

Friday, November 25th, 2016

What is the HCBA?

haringeyThe Haringey Children’s Book Award is now in its 3rd year, set up by the librarian community in Haringey to promote literacy across the borough through interaction between schools. The award aims to get more children reading and share fantastic books with them that they may have not noticed. Organised via school bookgroups, children from (mostly) school years 5 – 7 read the shortlist of books, do various activities on them, and then join altogether for workshops and the award ceremony itself, where they vote on the winner. We are seeing a growing community of schools taking part, with 10- 15 schools each year. Our vision is to eventually see all Haringey schools take part in some way.

2017 Shortlist
The Best Medicine by Christine Hamill, Little Island Books Catching Falling Stars by Karen McCombie, Scholastic
Cogheart by Peter Bunzl, Usborne
The Imaginary by AF Harrold & illustr. Emily Gravett, Bloomsbury Library of Lemons by Jo Cotterill, Piccadilly Press
Strange Star by Emma Carroll, Faber & Faber

Previous winners
2016 SF Said for ‘Phoenix’ 2015 Gill Lewis for ‘Scarlet Ibis’

 

The HCBA Award Ceremony

The award ceremony will be at Heartlands High School, Haringey (N22 7ST) on the afternoon of Monday 24th April 2017. We would like to welcome all authors, illustrators, publishers & associates to join us for the ceremony. Please let us know if you would like to attend by using the email below.

The award ceremony itself is a fantastic afternoon – last year saw a keynote speech from MP Catherine West, book signings by 9 authors and a Q&A from 3 of the shortlisted authors. Since voting by participating children takes place at the ceremony, organisers genuinely have no idea as to the winner of the award which is very exciting!

Authors

We would love authors to run a workshop for of 30 children approx on the morning of the award ceremony at the same venue. This is funded through an Arts Council grant via ‘Haringey Literature Live’. Authors will be further contacted by Kate Pemberton about furter details. Please also let us know if you have space in January – March for school visits, as participating schools sometimes like to do this themselves.

Publishers

Please can you send publicity material for the shortlisted titles to the address below. Award ceremony attendance is around 100 – 150 students and we do like to give attendees a few goodies to take home / to their schools.

Helen Swinyard
Library Manager
Heartlands High School
Station Road
London N22 7ST

helen.swinyard@heartlands.haringey.sch.uk

Meet the Illustrator – In conversation with Helen Oxenbury

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Helen Oxenbury chats to Shelley Fallows from Lovereading4kids.

I (Shelley) have a nine year old son.  Those nine years have flown by in a flash as I was warned they would and yet one of the most endearing memories I have of his younger years is reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, over and over.  The book had been a gift from a friend who also had wonderful memories of reading it to her by then teenage children.  This is the beauty of a great picture book, quiet moments shared with you and the child in your life that become special.  So it was an absolute delight for me when I was asked to interview author and Illustrator Helen Oxenbury on behalf of Lovereading4kids to celebrate the publication of Time Now to Dream written by Timothy Knapman which is packed full of Helen’s beautiful, illustrations.

Time Now to Dream is a beautifully atmospheric story about two young children confronting their fears and supporting each other as they explore a mysterious noise in the woods close to where they live.  Timothy’s prose is perfect for sharing with young ones as it gently explores the fear of the unknown and inspired the illustrations Helen has created.  Her instantly recognisable style fits perfectly with the story.  I wanted to gain a better insight into this mother and grandmother who has made such a great contribution to children’s books – she is even the creator of the iconic bear symbol that graces all of Walker’s Books. She has been drawing since she was a child, discovering her love for it when she was forced to often stay home from school due to asthma.

Where did you take your inspiration from as a child?

I remember drawing endless bunches of flowers.  We had a lovely garden with a pond which I spent most of my time with my hands in.  I had no fear of frogs or toads.  That’s what I remember mostly of my childhood.  We often had friends over who all fell in but my brother and I never did because we grew up around it and knew not to.

What was you earliest book related memory?

You have to remember it was during the war and you couldn’t get books, you couldn’t buy your own books.  My father worked for the East Suffolk County Council and they had a library.  There was a shelf full of children’s books.  It was just awful but these were the only books I had really.  The one I can remember, that I just loved was quite a big book of photographs of Shirley Temple in different outfits, such as red wellies, a yellow raincoat and big yellow hat.  The book was in lovely, bright colour.  All the other books were just black and white.  We were quite starved of books really.  We had comics such as the Beano which was printed in black, red and white but if you had one with colour it was just wonderful.

Can you explain a little about your creative process? For example which medium do you like to work with?

time-to-dream-3It depends on the story, depends on the text.  If it is something like ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ or ‘Time Now to Dream’ that involves a rather English landscape then I’ll use watercolour.  However when I did the illustrations for ‘So Much’ which is about a West Indian family, well it just didn’t seem right in watercolour because they wear these wonderful, vibrant colours, so I used gouache.  It’s usually the text itself that will suggest to one which medium to use.

 

Do you have a specific routine you follow when working and do you tend to draw every day?

I take a flexible approach depending on what I’m working on.  I don’t always draw everyday though.  There’s not always enough time.

 

Do you usually meet the author before you begin work on the illustrations for a project?

No never. I receive just the manuscript to work from and then meet the authors once it is done.

 

Where did you take your inspiration for the illustrations in Time Now to Dream?

I took a lot of walks on Hampstead Heath but not with a notebook, but I wouldn’t do any drawing at this stage.  I would then draw the pictures from memory.

 

Your drawings are wonderfully expressive, are the children based on anyone in particular?

They are a culmination of children based on the age of those who will be reading it.  It helps the children to be able to identify with the characters.  I love to try and put over the emotions the text invokes.  We have to enhance the text but not slavishly illustrate every word.  I also like to add a little something that features throughout the book.  In ‘Time Now to Dream’ for example there is a bird who appears all the way through.  At times you are unsure what his purpose is.  Is he a little sinister or is he watching over them?  It’s another element to talk about when you’re reading the book.

 

How closely do you work with the publisher on the finished book?

I work very closely with the art director on the book itself.  For example with ‘Time Now to Dream’ I didn’t want the foliage and text etc. to be on a white background so we chose a softer colour that supported the illustrations better and provided a softer, more comforting feel to the book.  I also like to include a mix of coloured illustrations with black and white images to also enhance the visual aspect.  Walker Books are particularly good at getting it right.  There is definitely a Walker look.

 

How important do you feel illustrations are to building a child’s love of books and reading?

time-to-dream-4Terribly important and not only for the reading but looking at things, giving them a sense of colour and form.  For example when they see a wolf they’ll recognise it for what it is.  I see them also as a stepping stone to reading.  Illustrations also make a book so much more interesting.

 

How vital do you feel the role of Children’s Laureate is to Children’s literature today?

Well, it certainly can’t do any harm especially if it gets more children reading!

 

Do you have any advice for parents who want to encourage their children to read?

They’re never too young to start.  It’s amazing how much they can absorb right away.  Holding books, looking at pictures, hearing the words and of course having that precious time with mum and dad.  Always make time to read.

 

What are you reading at the moment?

Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens, it has the most wonderful illustrations!

 

Are you working on any other projects at the moment?

I am but I’m afraid I can’t say too much about them at the moment.  I still love what I do and will keep on doing it until I fall off my perch.

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 messageinabottlebook.co.uk. 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

miab_christmas_post_feat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a video that explains a bit more

Find out more on their facebook page facebook.com/messageinabottlechildrensbook/

 

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.


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