We’re coming to the end of our first week back after half term and there’s been lots going on (and to catch up with!)
Last week saw the longlists announced for both the Kate Greenaway and Carnegie Medals (details here). Though there are only a few weeks until the shortlists are announced on Tuesday 15th March, it’s interesting to see which books have made the cut from the lengthy list of nominations publicised back in October. As always, we’ll be running an event for some shadowing groups and would recommend looking at the CKG shadowing site, particularly if you have a group of students keen to read all of the titles in the build-up to the titles being awarded in the summer.
Two other book award announcements made in the last few weeks too: firstly, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize shortlists (see them here), and the Brandford Boase longlists (see them here). It’s always interesting to see which books are selected for recognition, and gives our office the opportunity to fill in the gaps reading anything we may have missed (even if we do end up unwieldy with to-read piles)
We’ve also come across two really interesting articles this week; the first, from the New Yorker, is titled ‘Do Teens Read Seriously Anymore?’ and addresses the decline of teen reading in the modern age. The second, written by author Robin Stevens for the Reading Zone, is about segregating authors during visits- that is, booking a male author just to speak to boys and a female author just to speak to girls. Both are thought-provoking articles sure to generate discussion, so why not take five minutes or so to take a look?
Now: this week’s Friday Reads!
Apryl: Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
I’ll be honest with you: I am a full-on Star Wars nerd, so this short story (published for World Book Day 2016) written by one of my favourite YA authors could not have been more relevant to my interests. The premise of the book is thus: a girl, Elena, spends four days waiting in line for the first screening of new sequel, ‘The Force Awakens’. Short, simple and for me at least, very well-executed (even if it did leave me wishing it was a full book). I really enjoyed 2014’s ‘Fangirl’ which captured perfectly a similar infatuation with pop-culture and the power of fandom, and Rowell as always has a real knack for creating relatable, believable and incredibly likeable protagonists.
(Macmillan, £1 paperback, ISBN 9781509820832)
Gail: Rubbish Town Hero by Nicola Davies
The cheerful cover of this book belies the sad reality of orphaned children in Africa who survive by sorting rubbish. The fast-moving adventure of three children’s escape from child labour is lightly handled, however, and the ending is ultimately uplifting. Sympathetic child characters and lovely underlying themes of friendship and family. Lots of opportunity to discuss current issues such as poverty, children’s lives in Africa and the environment. Best for children 9+.
(Corgi, £5.99 paperback, ISBN 9780552563024)
Georgie: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I finally gave in and read John Green’s epic-teen-cancer-tale ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ and it’s safe to say I found it…well…just okay. Yes the story itself was powerful and tragic but I didn’t think the characters themselves had enough depth. It all seemed to me that the usual clichés were still being used just hidden behind a heart-breaking sickness that so many of us have encountered in some shape or form. Reading the book was tiresome as I found the language and overly wordy and the dialogue annoying. However, it can’t be denied that is books is one of the most successful teen books of the past 5 years so maybe it is purely because I am not a teenager? If you would like to read a story that addresses the emotions and effects of terminal illness intertwined with a not-so-typical boy meets girl tale then this book is for you.
Harriet: How to Catch a Mouse by Philippa Leathers
With language that invites noisy joining in, and simple illustrations, this is a tale that’s straightforward enough for very young children, yet has plenty to amuse and intrigue older ones. Readers can infer that the illustrations may be telling a different story from the pared down text, and there is an amusing surprise ending. Lovely!
(Walker Books, £10.99 hardback, 9781406359411)
You can find our previous Friday Read recommendations here.