The Girls’ Crystal Annual 1952

It’s vintage book acquisition o’clock! I recently picked up a couple of annuals from a local charity shop and was pleased to find them rather interesting things. Annuals aren’t my normal space as a collector because the authors that I’m interested in very rarely published in them. There’s quite a clear distinction as the namesContinue reading “The Girls’ Crystal Annual 1952”

The Adventures of Alice Laselles by Alexandrina Victoria aged 10 3/4

The Adventures of Alice Laselles by Queen Victoria My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve had this on my to be read list for a while, interested not only for the author but also because of my research into young female writers. It is an amazing topic to look at and one which fascinates meContinue reading “The Adventures of Alice Laselles by Alexandrina Victoria aged 10 3/4”

Dulcie’s Little Brother by Evelyn Everett-Green

Dulcie’s Little Brother by Evelyn Everett-Green My rating: 4 of 5 stars This was surprisingly charming, albeit in that very Victorian ‘everybody gets a moral’ kind of way. The story is simple: Dulcie and her brother Tottie live in London with their nurse Nancy. Their father is away being something of a foolish wastrel (asContinue reading “Dulcie’s Little Brother by Evelyn Everett-Green”

Revisiting The Bunker Diary; or, the state of Children’s and Young Adult literature today

I’ve recently been revisiting The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks. Much of the prompt for this comes from a class I’ll be teaching in a couple of weeks about writing young adult fiction, though I admit a part of me was interested to see how it felt reading this complex, challenging book from a freshContinue reading “Revisiting The Bunker Diary; or, the state of Children’s and Young Adult literature today”

Things I would like to see less (and more) of in the world of children’s books in 2018

Less… Strong Female Characters Who Are Strong In One Way Only. Strong Female Characters Who Are Violent And Thus Strong And That Is About All You Get. “I read Harry Potter once…” Looking into the mirror scenes. Lists from headteachers of Approved Literature saying that they read Boccaccio when they were two days old, andContinue reading “Things I would like to see less (and more) of in the world of children’s books in 2018”

Learning how to be not afraid

I was asked, the other day, in the middle of a conversation: “what has life as a research student taught you?’. And my answer was: “it’s taught me to be not afraid.” I was a little bit surprised as to where that came from and more so, perhaps, in how I phrased it. I thinkContinue reading “Learning how to be not afraid”

Children’s literature and the great ‘oh’

This post marks the debut of a new series on this blog, namely a collection of longer and more in-depth pieces. Long-reads, essays, that sort of thing. They will be able to be read in sequence or in isolation, and I hope they’ll help to shed some light on children’s literature. And on tigers.  LetContinue reading “Children’s literature and the great ‘oh’”

2016 : the year in children’s literature

“Wasn’t it good?” The sound of Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson slide into my ears as I settle down to write this look back at the bookish year, and they’re more of an appropriate soundtrack than I originally thought they were. 2016 has been a year, a whole hefty stomach punch of a year, and yetContinue reading “2016 : the year in children’s literature”

5 Life Lessons Children’s Literature Taught Me (with a little help from Buffy)

1. bravery is not what you think it is I think, in a way, this is one of the more important and perhaps the most important message that any book can tell anyone. As Buffy says in the above gif that sort of reduces me to an emotional wreck every time I look at it,Continue reading “5 Life Lessons Children’s Literature Taught Me (with a little help from Buffy)”

Who are you if you are afraid? : On mediating complex content in children’s literature

  “If I have the agency to read texts for young people critically, then might not young readers have this agency also?” Nodelman, Perry (2016) The hidden child in the hidden adult Jeunesse : Young People, Texts, Cultures 8 (1), pp266-277   I have been thinking about this post for a while and how bestContinue reading “Who are you if you are afraid? : On mediating complex content in children’s literature”

Good books, bad books : discussing value in children’s literature

I  had an interesting chat earlier this week with a colleague. She asked me to show her an example of good illustration, versus an example of bad, and whilst I could easily fulfill the request for the former, I struggled with the latter. Bad. Bad books. We think about that a lot with children’s literature;Continue reading “Good books, bad books : discussing value in children’s literature”

The books I don’t review

Oh, that title makes me think of some sort of bookish elephant graveyard! Rest assured, that’s not my intention; this post is to talk about all the books I don’t review. I read a lot of books (a lot, seriously, it’s like my superpower) and I don’t even begin to review half of them. AContinue reading “The books I don’t review”

16 ways to help yourself and your child make the best of your public library, books and reading

   Sometimes I think we become afraid of challenges and the potential of failure, especially with reading. I hear the phrase “that book’s too hard for you” an awful lot. If you say that: ask yourself why you’re saying that. Unpack the statement and challenge yourself about it.  The journey to literacy has to start somewhere.Continue reading “16 ways to help yourself and your child make the best of your public library, books and reading”

54 places to begin with when thinking about children’s and young adult literature

A manifesto, of sorts, for those who are interested in children’s and young adult literature but don’t know where to start. Start here. Somewhere. All of them. One of them. Just start. Read something you remember from your childhood. Read it now as an adult. Be aware of the differences between that read. Read TheContinue reading “54 places to begin with when thinking about children’s and young adult literature”

Turn Left : on serendipity, shelving and selection of children’s literature

In beginning this post, I want to take you back a step. I want to take you away from books themselves and back to the word. I want you to think about these sentences. I want you to think about how you know that they’re sentences. I want you to think about what tells you that thisContinue reading “Turn Left : on serendipity, shelving and selection of children’s literature”

On facilitating children’s literature

There’s two pieces I want to draw your attention to, as I think they’re worth a read. Firstly this piece talking about bedtime stories for very young children. It makes some interesting points about the word-image cognitive process taking place and links to some other useful pieces. Secondly, there’s a report out from Scholastic onContinue reading “On facilitating children’s literature”

Let’s talk about sequels in children’s literature

A couple of articles and new titles have caught my eye this week and they’re all about sequels to classic pieces of children’s literature. ‘Katy‘ by Jacqueline Wilson is out now, ‘Return to the Secret Garden‘ by Holly Webb is due in October and ‘Five Children on the Western Front‘ by Kate Saunders has beenContinue reading “Let’s talk about sequels in children’s literature”

Finding Alice at Harlow Carr

As part of my PhD, I’m exploring and thinking a lot about the commercial implications of literary tourism and children’s literature. What texts do people use? How do they use them? What do they hope to get out of it? How is the text transformed as part of that process? Or, to phrase that a little less ‘headContinue reading “Finding Alice at Harlow Carr”

“We don’t bury ourselves in books – books bury themselves in us” : finding ‘sequels’ for children’s literature classics

“We don’t bury ourselves in books – books bury themselves in us” Let that just hang for a moment. It was something that I heard today at the York Festival Of Ideas. I was at a talk about the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland and Professor Robert Douglas-Fairhurst was discussing the idea of how aContinue reading ““We don’t bury ourselves in books – books bury themselves in us” : finding ‘sequels’ for children’s literature classics”

From Black Beauty to the Amber Spyglass

(It’s time for a little taster of some of my PhD research ….) Ever fancy driving from Black Beauty to the Amber Spyglass? How about a trip from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone through to Malory Towers? Or maybe you’d like to journey from The Whitby Witches to Swallows and Amazons? (Research is FUN!)

Remember that list I keep of children’s books set in the UK?

Did you know that I keep a few reading lists here and update them when I come across something relevant? One of those lists was a list of titles set in the UK. This all came from one of those late night conversations on Twitter where I and a few others wondered whether you could readContinue reading “Remember that list I keep of children’s books set in the UK?”

A Garden for Torak (Wolf Brother : Michelle Paver)

A brief introduction. My mother’s a garden designer (Gold Medallist at Chelsea – I’m very proud) and I was chatting with her about gardens and children’s books and then the below came about – it’s a mood-board for A Garden for Torak. Torak is the hero of the ineffably beautiful Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver. The plantsContinue reading “A Garden for Torak (Wolf Brother : Michelle Paver)”

Where was Wonderland? A Traveller’s Guide to the Setting of Classic Children’s Books : Frank Barrett

Where Was Wonderland?: A Traveller’s Guide To The Settings Of Classic Children’s Books by Frank Barrett My rating: 2 of 5 stars My reading of the slim canon of children’s literary tour guides (the others I’ve come across are listed here) continues with ‘Where Was Wonderland?’; a quick, problematic and yet strangely appealing read. WrittenContinue reading “Where was Wonderland? A Traveller’s Guide to the Setting of Classic Children’s Books : Frank Barrett”

2014 : The year of the paradigm shift?

Was 2014 the year children’s literature made itself known? Whilst there’s an obvious issue in such a grandiloquent statement (viz. children’s literature has always been ‘known’, etc, etc) I do think there’s something in that idea and this is going to be the blog post where I attempt to unpack that sentiment. In other words,Continue reading “2014 : The year of the paradigm shift?”

#kidbkgrp Christmas in Children’s Literature

Last night, #kidbkgrp met to discuss Christmas in children’s literature and came up with what is officially a mahoosive and rather amazing list of Christmas book recommendations. You can catch up on the chat here  and here’s a link to previous chats. This is usually the bit where I tell you about the next chat, but that’sContinue reading “#kidbkgrp Christmas in Children’s Literature”

Let’s talk a little bit about adults and children’s literature

I’ve been doing a PhD (is that the right phrase? Do you do this sort of a thing?) for nearly a month now and so far my brain has resembled one of those Stretch Armstrong dolls I always wanted but never got for one reason or another. You can sort of feel the moments when everythingContinue reading “Let’s talk a little bit about adults and children’s literature”

A few thoughts on reading out loud

Now that I’m an official PhD student, I am officially researching children’s literature. It is terrifying, awe-inducing and a privilege, all at the same time. It’s letting my mind race, hugely, nervously, tentatively, into odd places and to self-indulgent places because I’m able to do what I enjoy. And what I enjoy is talking about books. Children’sContinue reading “A few thoughts on reading out loud”

Awards and children’s literature

Last night #kidbkgrp talked about awards and children’s literature. It was a very brief and quiet chat as there weren’t many people online (my thanks to those who were around!). I therefore decided that the chat as a whole wasn’t worth storifying but, as I do think this is a topic worth pursuing, I decided toContinue reading “Awards and children’s literature”

I registered this blog five years ago today

When I started this blog, I started it out of a sort of desperate urge to do something with children’s literature. I wanted to talk about it, to someone. To anyone. I wanted to share this great love of books and find others that loved the same sort of thing. I wanted to connect,  IContinue reading “I registered this blog five years ago today”

The Boy Who Fell Into A Book : The Joy of Book-Based Theatre

Children’s books are a funny, beloved thing of mine. I love how they are so resolutely what they are; I love the shape and feel and taste of them, the way that they are so viciously of themselves and will not be of something else. But equally, I love the way that sometimes you getContinue reading “The Boy Who Fell Into A Book : The Joy of Book-Based Theatre”

Shelves! Shelves with books!

I always love it when people share photographs of their bookshelves because I do the whole squinting at the page/screen thing and try to figure out what they have on their shelves. Seriously, I even do it on magazines when I’m meant to be focusing on who’s got married to who; all I’m interested inContinue reading “Shelves! Shelves with books!”

Have you heard of #kidbkgrp ?

Hi! Do we talk on Twitter? If not, we really should (say hi, you know you want to). (But, you know, say it with some context and not just hi, because then I’ll just hi back and that will not be constructive in the whole beginning a conversation thing and now I’m digressing just aContinue reading “Have you heard of #kidbkgrp ?”

The Wilderness of Children’s Literature

“Let the wild rumpus start!”  – Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are What is children’s literature right now? Is it vile and dangerous?  Is it something that adults shouldn’t even be reading at all? I don’t want to tell you about what you should and shouldn’t read. But what I will do is this.  I will support you in makingContinue reading “The Wilderness of Children’s Literature”

You shouldn’t read this post

You shouldn’t read this post. You shouldn’t read this blog. You shouldn’t read this for the simple reason that I am telling you not to read it. Are you still reading? You shouldn’t. You shouldn’t have this tab open. You shouldn’t still have the internet. You shouldn’t have your device switched on.  What I amContinue reading “You shouldn’t read this post”

I swim to literature and grab it, finger-tight and breathless

I am moving house at the moment. Not literally, I hasten to add. I am not typing this from a laptop balanced on my knee somewhere on the M1. I am moving in a few days and I type this surrounded by boxes and bags and the remains of Things Which Should Not Be MovedContinue reading “I swim to literature and grab it, finger-tight and breathless”

Do you wanna build a library?

Do you wanna fill it full of books? Do you wanna make it so, that every child who comes in won’t know where to look? But where would you begin? It’s hard to know how to ‘start’ a library when there’s so much in the world of children’s literature and there’s so much of itContinue reading “Do you wanna build a library?”

“Nobody needs me” – “I do.” A few thoughts on space, relationships and children’s literature

Catching Fire is one of those films that I fear I might be thinking about for a long time. It aches inside of me and I love it. I love the furious pain of Jennifer Lawrence in it (that end shot!). The layers beyond layers of story and doublespeak and intrigue. The beautiful honesty ofContinue reading ““Nobody needs me” – “I do.” A few thoughts on space, relationships and children’s literature”

Voice in children’s literature : Power, space and place

One of the big things I’m passionate about (and you may have gathered this) is the demystification of children’s literature. Of literature, really, of the breaking down of the fear of it and the awe of it and the preconceptions of it. Doing my MA in Children’s Literature (with the rather superb department at Roehampton)Continue reading “Voice in children’s literature : Power, space and place”

Roofs in children’s literature

Let’s talk about roofs. Niche, I know, but something that’s sort of starting to needle at my imagination and what with a visit to Oxford yesterday, and my current reading of (the incredibly lovely) Rooftoppers, I thought it was an appropriate time to explore this. See, the thing about roofs is that they’re inacessible, usually.Continue reading “Roofs in children’s literature”

Words, wording, writing, making : thoughts on authoring

Before we get into this post, I’d urge you to go and read this by the estimable and muy excellente Clara Vulliamy. It’s a really interesting post on the terminology of writing ie: do you call yourself an author? A writer? Or a … something else?  And it is the inspiration behind this post.  IContinue reading “Words, wording, writing, making : thoughts on authoring”

How Children’s Literature Ruined My Life

  This is a picture of the sky. It is very lovely. It bears very little relation to what I’m about to tell you but, I feel, it’s time to tell the truth. And so I start with a sweetener. The beauty. The glory. The light that stretches down to your fingertips. The joy ofContinue reading “How Children’s Literature Ruined My Life”

Structurally speaking

Structure in children’s literature, heck, literature in general, is an odd tricksy beast. If I think of structure, one of the first examples that come to mind(though everything is an example of structure, this one comes first) is Tristram Shandy. Though it still remains not the most readable of books for me, and nowhere approaching children’sContinue reading “Structurally speaking”

New beginnings, New Year’s resolutions, and a shiny quarter

The thing about the children’s literature online community (CLOC – patent pending) is that it’s full of brilliant and smart people writing brilliant and smart things. And I think that’s vital. I think questioning and examining and rootling into the heart of what we read and write is such an important thing. It’s through that  rootling thatContinue reading “New beginnings, New Year’s resolutions, and a shiny quarter”

Wales is done!

Breaking news of the breakingest kind! Remember that Read Your Way Around the UK project I’ve been working on? The one with a book located in every county of the UK? Thanks to a suggestion from the amazing @yayeahyeah, the Wales section is now FINISHED. You can view the spreadsheet here as it currently stands,Continue reading “Wales is done!”

“Look back, but don’t stare” : what I want from the world of children’s literature in 2014

I recently got a copy of the Take That documentary Look Back, Don’t Stare from the charity shop near me. It’s an amazing documentary and one that, in a way, bears a lot of interest for me. In it, we see the boy-now-attractive-beardy-man-band Take That come to terms with working together as a five piece:Continue reading ““Look back, but don’t stare” : what I want from the world of children’s literature in 2014″

The best of 2013 : a look back

Hurrah! It’s that time of year when we look back at the most popular posts on DYESTTAFTSA. In no particular order, here’s the top five most read posts in 2013 1. I was so pleased to be able to share this post with you. It’s an interview with Allan Laville of the University of Reading,Continue reading “The best of 2013 : a look back”

Love in children’s literature : the pain, the glory, the wonder

It’s a big old subject is love. Love changes everything. All you need is love. Love in media simply is. It’s one of the core tenets of our humanity, of our experience, and so we talk about it. We share it. We are inspired by it. We are made by, reshaped by and broken by love.

#kidbkgrp School Stories in Children’s Literature

Last night #kidbkgrp discussed school stories in children’s literature. Now, I admit that this one might have been a little self-indulgent as a topic (Team Chalet, yo), I was fascinated to see the range of reccomendations that came up. I think there’s something really interesting in how so many people plumped for say Chalet SchoolContinue reading “#kidbkgrp School Stories in Children’s Literature”

The marginalisation of children’s literature

Amanda Craig has left The Times. For those of you who don’t know her work, she is a critic of children’s literature. She is very good. She was one of the few mainstream print media ‘presences’ of children’s literature. I have been thinking about this. And other things like this, like this post on theContinue reading “The marginalisation of children’s literature”

Read Your Way Around the UK (England’s done!)

Do you remember that whole mad ‘can you read your way around the UK’ idea? We got England completed! Thank you so much if you’ve been a part of this! You can view the current state of the spreadsheet if you click on the below image. Which, coincidentally, is all the England titles and authorsContinue reading “Read Your Way Around the UK (England’s done!)”

Book covers, oh my!

Design’s a pretty amazing thing in the world of children’s literature. I don’t think I’ve seen an ugly book for a long time. You know what I mean; the sort of book that looks at you and dares you to touch it. The sort of book that doesn’t, quite genuinely doesn’t want to be read. I’veContinue reading “Book covers, oh my!”

“The more we invest in children, the more we destroy their future”

I’m reading a bit of Jack Zipes at the moment (Sticks and Stones  : The Troublesome success of children’s literature). It’s one of those books that I don’t know if I agree with it (in fact, there’s areas I’d love to wade into and pick apart) but my word, it’s a fiery, passionate and brilliantContinue reading ““The more we invest in children, the more we destroy their future””

#readyourwayaroundtheUK – an update, a thank you and a challenge!

Just in case you missed it, I have been working on a project recently. I wondered whether it would be possible to read your way around the UK in children’s / YA books, and you know something? You pretty much can. After a busy, busy week of googling, map reading, and tweeting, the Read YourContinue reading “#readyourwayaroundtheUK – an update, a thank you and a challenge!”

Read Your Way Around the UK

You can blame David Almond for this. I was reading one of his rich nuanced books, that sing of love and of humanity and of life, and I thought wait a minute. Wait a minute, I thought, I wonder if these books that are so richly of his North (and not in the Game ofContinue reading “Read Your Way Around the UK”

Darkness in children’s literature #kidbkgrp

If you’ve not heard about #kidbkgrp, basically it’s a Twitter based chat (using the #kidbkgrp) on various topics in children’s / YA literature. The schedule for the November / December chat is available here (and I’d love to see you along next time!) So last night we talked about darkness in children’s literature. Darkness isContinue reading “Darkness in children’s literature #kidbkgrp”

Best of British : is there such a thing as the Great British Children’s Book?

I’ve been thinking about children’s literature and what, you know, makes it what it is today. I’ve thought for a while that we’re living in a second golden age, with the quality of titles being published during and in the past few years. But then I thought that well, maybe there’s something in that but there’s alsoContinue reading “Best of British : is there such a thing as the Great British Children’s Book?”

News and more from this week in the world of children’s literature

Hello! It’s your weekly roundup of Things Which May Be Interesting! As ever, if you’ve got anything that you think should be included, let me know? Enjoy! 1. Nosy Crow features a 20 month old retelling of one of their stories (not as in an old retelling, a retelling by a very young individual!). It’sContinue reading “News and more from this week in the world of children’s literature”

How children distinguish fantasy from reality

I’m so pleased to share with you an interview with Allán Laville, a doctoral researcher based at the University of Reading, who very kindly let me talk to him about his work. (And oh guys, his work is fascinating and bears a WORLD of relevance for how we look at children’s literature – particularly when thinkingContinue reading “How children distinguish fantasy from reality”

Favourites in children’s literature #kidbkgrp

12th September saw a super speedy #kidbkgrp chat happen. It was precipitated by my finishing A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson and remembering just how much I loved her. You know that feeling, right? The one where you come back to your favourite author – or book – and feel like you’ve finally comeContinue reading “Favourites in children’s literature #kidbkgrp”

Cover Analysis : The 100 most wished for books on Amazon

So, slightly prompted by this, and by my wish to revisit this, I took a look at the 100 most wished for books on Amazon and did a little bit of analysis. The facts: I looked at this list on 9th September 2013, over a several hour period (ie: once in the morning before work,Continue reading “Cover Analysis : The 100 most wished for books on Amazon”

News, reviews and articles from the world of Children’s Literature

Good morning!  What better way to start a Sunday then with some interesting reading? As ever, DYESTTAFTSA is here to help with the regular round-up of things you may have missed this week from the world of children’s literature.  Enjoy! This is a gorgeous review of Meg Rosoff’s latest – “Picture Me Gone”. Rosoff onContinue reading “News, reviews and articles from the world of Children’s Literature”

Sunday catch-up (news, reviews and more from the world of children’s literature)

This is a two week special, as last week I was a bit busy being giddy. Normal service is resumed this week. Here’s some of the things you may have missed from the world of children’s literature. *shuffles papers* BONG. A list of ten inspiring bookshops across the world. I’m moving into the one in Santorini,Continue reading “Sunday catch-up (news, reviews and more from the world of children’s literature)”

Sick of telling people that you like children’s books? Help is at hand!

Here is the official DYESTTAFTSA survial guide to those moments when people go “Wait, what, you like children’s books?”. In all encounters such as these, that alas the adult fan of children’s literature is somewhat prone to receiving, DYESTTAFTSA  reccommends calmness and clarity as your way forward. Or, alternatively, you can go Margot Maynard on themContinue reading “Sick of telling people that you like children’s books? Help is at hand!”

Blyton. Bourne End. Birthday!

(Another phase of The Spectacularly Self-Indulgent Birthday Weekend!) Enid Blyton is a thing of wonder. I’m sure we can all agree on this? And on Sunday I visited her old house. Old Thatch is located just outside of Bourne End, Bucks. There’s a nice part about it here and the official website here. Guys, IContinue reading “Blyton. Bourne End. Birthday!”

Self Indulgent birthday weekend – phase three! (A Confession)

So I think I need to come clean, though I think some of you know it already. I am one of Those Bloggers Who Would Like To Be Published.  I’ve always written. I love it, really. I love really how writing can tell you things; how it can unpack and spill things open for youContinue reading “Self Indulgent birthday weekend – phase three! (A Confession)”

An adventure (a snozzcumbing, phizzwiggling, gollumptious adventure)

It’s my birthday weekend! I love how overly excited that sounds, but it is and I am milking it in what I am callling “The Spectacularly Self-Indulgent Birthday Weekend” (patent pending). Yesterday I went on phase one: a trip to The Roald Dahl Museum. OMG I KNOW RIGHT? Such a thing exists!! It is in GreatContinue reading “An adventure (a snozzcumbing, phizzwiggling, gollumptious adventure)”

Female Characters in Children’s Literature #kidbkgrp

So we just had a #kidbkgrp on Twitter ! It’s an online chat group for people who love to talk about children’s literature – and I’d love to see you there next time (in about three weeks or so…?). Keep an eye on the hashtag anyway because if anything exciting happens in the world ofContinue reading “Female Characters in Children’s Literature #kidbkgrp”

So here’s the part where you make a choice

We live in exciting times. You know that, right? Right now, the dialogue and the productivity and the talent that forms the world of children’s literature is amazing. Outstanding, even. I’d argue we’re living in a new Golden Age Of Children’s Literature. We really, really are. I’ve been reminded of that recently when following theContinue reading “So here’s the part where you make a choice”

Sunday Catch Up

Good morning! This is a scheduled post because I am no doubt still asleep recovering from the joys of seeing Mr Marvin Aday last night.  (:D) Anyway, enough of that – here’s the news from the children’s literature world this week. 1. @playbythebook posted about her trip to Orkney and mentioned Betty’s Reading Room. IContinue reading “Sunday Catch Up”

The Secret Life Of Anne

I’ve been reading a lot of Enid Blyton recently. From her gloriously mad autobiography through to the Famous Five, her mark on children’s literature remains arguably unsurpassed. And when I was on holiday in France recently, I was startled and then greatly pleased to see rows and rows of freshly issued Blyton books in theContinue reading “The Secret Life Of Anne”

Sunday Catch Up

Hello! It’s been a while hasn’t it? I’ve been in France (pain! boursin! beaucoup de bandes dessinees!) and so this is a slightly bigger catch up than usual for it covers two whole weeks. Two weeks! Anything could happen in two weeks! Kirrin Island could get over-run by pirates! Julian could stop being a knowContinue reading “Sunday Catch Up”

Flying, flying away (or, how amazing airport bookshops are)

I’m on holiday! Hurrah!  One of the great joys of my life when I’m travelling (and when you’re travelling there are very few joys unless you’re travelling first class and have your every whim catered for) is airport bookshops. I LOVE AIRPORT BOOKSHOPS. I love the way that everybody is so rampantly desperate for thingsContinue reading “Flying, flying away (or, how amazing airport bookshops are)”

Classics and Children’s Literature #kidbkgrp

Last night at 9pm, the very new and very amazing #kidbkgrp over on Twitter got going. It’s an online chat group for people who love children’s literature – and I’d love to see you there next time (end of August ish). Keep an eye on the hashtag! (And feel free to suggest topics – IContinue reading “Classics and Children’s Literature #kidbkgrp”

Sunday round up and reflections

Happy Sunday! I hope you’ve managed to have an ice-cream this lovely sunny weekend and have had chance to put your feet up and enjoy things 🙂 Here’s the round up of things that caught my eye this week. 1. Zoe from @playbythebook pointed me in the direction of this excellent and powerful piece: “HowContinue reading “Sunday round up and reflections”

Superman, heroes and heroines (or: how literature lets us make heroes)

I saw Man Of Steel earlier (don’t worry, no massive plot spoilers.) Suffice to say I didn’t really like Russell Crowe as Jor-El but I adored Henry Cavill as Superman. I felt he really got the farmboy wholehearted goodness of Superman and made it big. Man Of Steel has left me thinking about the nature ofContinue reading “Superman, heroes and heroines (or: how literature lets us make heroes)”

Children’s Literature Studies : (eds) M. O. Grenby & Kimberley Reynolds

Children’s Literature Studies: A Research Handbook by M.O. Grenby My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is the book I’d have wanted before I did my MA in Children’s Literature. That’s not to cast aspersions on my MA (which was, to be brief, one of the best accidents that ever happened to me), but ratherContinue reading “Children’s Literature Studies : (eds) M. O. Grenby & Kimberley Reynolds”

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

I think about things, probably much more than I should, and sometimes the expressing of things is difficult. That’s life, I suppose, that tongue-knot that comes when you least expect it. But it’s how you deal with it, that’s what matters. It’s how you learn to speak, to write to express yourself even through allContinue reading “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”

Discovering your story

I am very stubborn. (Hi Mum. Don’t laugh). I am very stubborn and quite contrary and distinctly independent. I have a few things I believe in, very very much. One of those things is that books – literacy – libraries – all these things fall under one of our greatest achievements as humanity. We shareContinue reading “Discovering your story”

“With love, me”

The letter. It’s a funny, glorious thing. The most vivid example I can think of in literature, straight away, is the letters Celie sends in the Colour Purple. Vivd, poignant, and heart-searingly true, her letters scar and heal – often both in the same paragraph. Children’s literature, and I apologise for the sweeping generalisation, reliesContinue reading ““With love, me””

Identifying geniuses in children’s literature

Genius is one of those almost unidentifiable things. You either have it, or you don’t, and until you become able to manifest it in ways we understand and can legitimise (ie: through a Mensa Test) , it may remain a relatively hidden talent. It’s a difficulty faced by geniuses in children’s literature and one that I’m goingContinue reading “Identifying geniuses in children’s literature”

Gendered books in children’s literature

There’s been an interesting debate on Twitter over the last couple of days about book design, marketing, and packaging in relation to issues of gender. Princess books versus Digger books. Construction of identity. Audiences. It’s been an interesting debate and it’s one that I’ve found particularly thought-provoking and incredibly complex. One comment on a postContinue reading “Gendered books in children’s literature”

How not to write about children’s literature

Inspired by this, and also this, here’s four things to avoid when you write about children’s literature. Thanks! Don’t be a snob, yeah? Children’s Literature is awesome. Children’s books are those for a very brilliant, very specific tribe. This tribe knows exactly what it wants, and what it wants is to be inspired, to beContinue reading “How not to write about children’s literature”

Digital children’s literature – values and validation

The presence of the adult mediator / facilitator in children’s literature is without question. Children, whether they’re in the emergent literacy, pre-literate, or literate stages of their development, have one constant in their reading experience – that of the adult. The child does not come across texts which have not been tacitly approved or purchasedContinue reading “Digital children’s literature – values and validation”

On critiquing, reviewing and writing about children’s literature

“At a time when unpaid bloggers online are gaining influence at the expense of professionals, we need to convince the public that good reviewers exist, and are still worth listening to. Otherwise, our readers will continue to look to the internet for news, and the art of the book review will join the typewriter inContinue reading “On critiquing, reviewing and writing about children’s literature”

Lights, camera, action : The role of the Book Trailer

I first discovered video-editing when at university. I loved it. There’s something arcane and primally satisfying about creating a coherent whole from a bunch of disjointed clips. Film has such a potential. Every moment of an image of screen says something, good or bad. When you’re working with film (particularly in the post-production stage), you’reContinue reading “Lights, camera, action : The role of the Book Trailer”

You’re a Brick, Angela! : Cadogan and Craig

You’re a Brick, Angela!: The Girls’ Story 1839-1985 by Mary Cadogan My rating: 4 of 5 stars You’re a Brick, Angela! is an encyclopedic review of girls’ books between 1839 and 1985 and is practically essential for anybody interested in the study of children’s literature. Cadogan and Craig provide a sweepingly brisk overview of theContinue reading “You’re a Brick, Angela! : Cadogan and Craig”

Children’s Literature : why?

The official news of my MA came through last week so I can now put the letters behind my name. I am now officially MA, BA (hons). In all honesty it it was an odd moment. All I could think was ‘thank god’ and ‘No seriously, thank god’ and ‘right, so I don’t have anotherContinue reading “Children’s Literature : why?”

Emergent literacy, graphic novels and picture books (oh my!)

I’m planning to do a series of posts in the near future on Graphic Novels. This will include a couple of reviews and also some more theoretical posts such as the following on Emergent Literacy. I first fell into graphic novels after the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I longed for a way toContinue reading “Emergent literacy, graphic novels and picture books (oh my!)”