A Book Awards round-up and our mid-week Reads!

With the recent bout of sunny weather across our part of the country, it seems as though Spring has (sort-of) sprung and that, the Easter break is finally upon us! To be honest, we’re all a bit baffled as to how we’re into April already- 2014 is certainly whizzing by!

Lots of book award-y goings on have taken place in the last week or so, beginning with the announcement of Booktrust’s first ever Best Book Award shortlist which you can see on their website here. 24 books have been nominated over 5 different categories- they’re an incredibly varied bunch ranging from early years to teen titles. You can vote online, with the winner being announced during Children’s Book Week this summer.

Also announced this week was the winner of the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, now in its 10th year. Coming out on top as overall winner was Katherine Rundell’s Rooftoppers, a book which recently won Best Story at the Blue Peters Book Awards AND is on the shortlist for this year’s Carnegie Medal. There was also success for a favourite here in our office, Nicola O’Bryne’s Open Very Carefully which was crowned Best Picture Book.

crayonsThe winners of Peters Book of the Year 2014 were announced on Friday and we were pleased to see that Drew Daywalt’s The Day the Crayons Quit triumphed in the picture book category- not only is there a universal consensus in our office that it is totally and utterly brilliant, but it also came out on top in the vote we held at our recent Picture Book Party which took part at Cliff Park Infant School (read about it here!).  Winning the fiction category was David Walliams’ Demon Dentist which wasn’t a huge surprise either- the children on our recent Mobile Library visits have been rapidly taking it off our shelves as soon as they see it!

But what about the SLS office you say? Well, we’re in preparation mode for the beginning of the Summer term- unpacking returned projects and assembling (then packing!) new ones to be sent out after Easter. We’re also seeing lots of new books and reading as much as we can, which brings us nicely onto….

What we’re reading Wednesday! 

Apryl: In the last week or so, I’ve decided to tackle the Carnegie and Greenaway shortlists head-on in an attempt to familiarise myself with those nominated titles that I haven’t yet read. I started (and finished!) David Almond’s Mouse Bird Snake Wolf during my lunch break yesterday- I loved the fantastical story and in particular, David McKee’s accompanying illustrations which showed wonderfully the world-building power of the children’s imaginations. I’ve also just started Kevin Brooks’ harrowing The Bunker Diary which manages to be both utterly compelling and deeply unsettling.

Gail: Baddies, Beasties and a Sprinkling of Crumbs! By Tracey Corderoy. A fun read for Y3/4 about scuppering a robbery with attractive drawings to enhance the plot.

Harriet: John Agard & Satoshi Kitamura’s Einstein the Girl Who Hated Maths

Although rather apprehensive about the Maths Cafe Training session with Alison Borthwick at the PDC- maths never having been my strong suit- it turned out to be extremely enjoyable and informative.  Alison is a great advocate for approaching maths in an unthreatening and approachable way – what could do that better than food and picture books?? Here at SLS we enjoy putting together maths project loans and selecting some fun and creative resources, and I’m currently enjoying a recent poetry book by John Agard, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura (a shame they’re not in colour), called Einstein the Girl Who Hated Maths.  Despite the title it puts across a very positive and entertaining view of the magic of numbers, while educating at the same time:

“TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA? What does it mean?

It’s when someone’s scared of number 13,

But how can a number be scary?

Don’t ask me, ask the dictionary.”

Kirsten:  Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, just a little way in – I like the book and the eccentric characters so far… reminds me a little of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events…

Mandy: Because of the upcoming WW1 Centenary events, I have finally settled down to read Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful. An achingly poignant reminder of bravery and innocence that has remained with me after the final page.

Reading anything exciting this week? Let us know in the comments!

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