Categories
Everything else

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 yet Elaine and Barbara are right. Despite everything, this year has been good in bookish terms. And maybe, sometimes, when everything is horrible and unfathomable, bookish things are good to hold on to.

In January, the brilliant news came that The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge had won the Costa Prize. The whole thing. The whole damn beautiful thing.

In February, I reviewed the beautiful Mango and Bambang from Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy. I am a fan of Vulliamy’s genuine, gorgeous art and after reading this from Faber, I was smitten. It’s not often you get books that read like joy, and yet this did. Faber has great things to come in her future.

In March, we lost the wonderful, epochal and beautiful voice of Louise Rennison. Rennison was a writer who got voice and got life and flung in Vikings for good measure. What a wonderful and sorely missed writer.

In May, I wrote about the brilliant Reading Well scheme from the Reading Agency. This list of publications, co-selected with young people, addressed a range of mental health issues and got some smart and considerate and great books to the shelves. In May, I also got to present my research at a conference in Cambridge and MEET KM PEYTON AND SERIOUSLY YES OH MY GOD SHE’S EXACTLY AS WONDERFUL AS YOU WOULD IMAGINE.

In June we witnessed the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals going to Sarah Crossan for ‘One’ and Chris Riddell for ‘The Sleeper and The Spindle’. The Carnegie ceremony is something rather wonderful, as is the participation of young readers, and this year also saw the introduction of the Amnesty Honours. We respond to darkness by shining lights, and this was a most welcome addition to the ceremony. June also saw Britain vote to leave the EU and the increasingly painful addition of ‘Brexit’ to everyday conversations (I voted to stay. I will always vote to stay.)

In August I got a bit obsessed with Enid Blyton and began to realise that she was something quite other than what she’s made out to be. Though critique of Blyton is often well grounded and justified, critique is not all she is. August also saw the publication of the first new Harry Potter story in a curious addition to the canon; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child hit the stage, but was also published in a play script format – something I suspect will remain quite unusual within the wider publishing world.

In September, I shared a map of 1000 points where children’s books are set  in England. Excitedly, I’m now submitting funding proposals on working more in this area so fingers crossed I can… (and if you want to talk about this on a professional level, please get in touch..)

In October, I reviewed the latest book by Robin Stephens. Mistletoe and Murder is another brilliant book in a wonderful and increasingly complex series and why these haven’t received all of the rewards, ever, is beyond me. I also reviewed Binny Bewitched by Hilary McKay, and a similar sentiment applies to this book. McKay is heavily overdue the freedom of children’s literature, she is so utterly, continually brilliant. October also saw me a book with awards in its future (I’m looking at you Piers Torday), and basically, it was a GOOD month.

In November, we returned to politics once more (as so much of this year has been defined by it) and I wrote about the dangerous space of children’s literature and  Teen Vogue continued to deliver some of the most searing and responsible and brilliant journalism I’ve ever read.

In December, I launched an appeal for Interesting People. I want to give you space to talk about the things you’re doing with children’s books and my response to the year is this. I will give you space to talk about the things you do and love (and all you need to do is get in touch….)

And so to the one final thing of the year that needs to be mentioned and that is you.

Thank you. 

Thank you for being a  part of this blog (because you are, you really are). I value, immensely, every contribution and response you give me. It is a pleasure to live in this corner of the internet.

Merry Christmas!

(wasn’t it good?)

 

Categories
Everything else

Articles and programmes and things of interest (oh my!)

I have a couple of EXCELLENT things to share with you in this post, hence … um … this post. I moan a lot about children’s literature getting a less than positive coverage in the media (ie: none) so it is important to acknowledge those moments when it does. And one of these moments  in particular is 30 minutes of the most lovely television I’ve watched for a while (I’m looking right at you Shirley Hughes…)

Categories
Everything else

The Syrian Refugee Crisis : a link roundup

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know how much I believe in the empowerment that children’s literature can bring. Books, literacy and all the skills that come around that are one of the greatest superpowers that we can give children. And, on International Literacy Day, it seems right to acknowledge that through providing a quick round up of links that are relevant to addressing some of the humanitarian issues affecting our world today. To quote Miss Wilson, from my beloved Chalet School series:

“When children reach the teens, they ought to know something of the evils we are fighting against – something of what other children, no older than they, are enduring in the occupied countries. After all, it will be the boys and girls who are now in their early teens who will have to rebuild life, once the war is over. By all means, keep the worst horrors from them. But I do feel that they must learn something of what war in these days of mechanism can mean, so that they can build and work to prevent it ever happening again. From the time they are old enough to understand what starvation and terrorism mean, our children must be taught about them, so that they can see to it that their children shall not go through what so many of the children of the present day are going through!”

Links

“Why fiction can help us understand the Syrian refugee crisis” – Gillian Cross, author of the very good After Tomorrow, talks about how fiction and the refugee experience. Includes a further reading list in the comments of crowd sourced suggestions.

Patrick Ness is spearheading a fundraising campaign for Save the Children.

There’s details here on the library that’s been set up in Calais and here’s another link about the books they’re looking for.

This is a useful FAQ on the Syrian war itself.

14/9 Edit : 12 Children’s books about refugees

Categories
Everything else

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, all about how children distinguish between fantasy and reality. His work is utterly fascinating, and if you didn’t catch the interview first time round, here’s your second chance.

2.  Following the departure of Amanda Craig from The Times, I wrote about the marginalisation of children’s literature. The full post is available here.

3. Read Your Way Around The UK launched this year! It’s a project that involves finding a book based in every county of the UK. You can read the introductory post here and view the current spreadsheet here. England’s done, and I’m working on the others!

4. In August, I found out the truth about Anne from the Famous Five. You can find out what I mean here.

5. And finally, there’s the post where I told you all some exciting behind the scenes news about me and that.

Categories
Everything else

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’s a fascinating insight into developing literacy and well worth watching. You can see the video and accompanying blog post here.

2. Di Laycock talks about the changing (and unchanging) attitudes towards comics in the classroom. “Keep watering the rocks” also features a very useful looking bibliography if you’re needing to look at using / justifying comics in an educational context.

3. If you’re in Oxford / can get to Oxford on October 12th, you should be going to this conference. The lineup looks amazing, plus you get the chance to make me rampantly jealous. Frankly, it sells itself!

4. This is a lovely, proper lovely, interview with Hilary McKay.

5. I enjoyed this essay: “Disenchanting the fairy godmother : an exploration of the evolution of fairy godmothers in modern retellings of Cinderella.”

6. I am planning things for #kidbkgrp and would welcome your thoughts! You can see more about this here. I’d really welcome your thoughts (and I have great things planned 😉 )

7. This is ace. 22 times when Harry Potter’s bitch face was better than yours. Turns out that the chosen one? He sassy.

8. And finally, it’s very much not from this week but I loved it and wanted to share it, Viviane Schwarz talks about what it feels like to write a picture book. It’s beautiful.

Previous posts in this series are available here. See you next time!

Categories
Everything else

Sunday round-up of news from the world of children’s literature

Gosh, I need to figure out a pithier title for this series of posts! If you have any ideas do let me know? 😉 Here’s some of the things you may have missed from the world of children’s literature this week. Enjoy!
1. Alex T Smith was named as the illustrator for World Book Day 2014. This is genuinely the best of things and if you’d like to know why, have a look at my review of Claude In The Country, or Claude On Holiday or  Egg  Basically he’s really good at what he does. I, for one, am very very excited about this.2. Kate Kelly writes about the rise of ‘Cli-Fi’ (Climate Fiction) over on the Scottish Book Trust: “Cli-Fi : The Fiction of Climate Change”. If you’re after more books in this area, have a look at Playing By The Book’s blog carnival on books about green issues, and my reviews of Saci Lloyd’s climate-dystopias ‘The Carbon Diaries 2015’ and ‘The Carbon Diaries 2017‘.

3. In an article on the Daily Mail, Charlie Higson and Meg Rosoff discuss how to get boys and girls into reading: “Boys V Girls : it’s the battle of the bookworms”

4. There’s a preview of Catherynne M Valente’s new ‘Fairyland’ book: “The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut The Moon In Two” here.

5. BuzzFeed collated some of the best children’s book themed Halloween (or maybe World Book Day? 😉 ) costumes ever. Have a look at them here and adore the brilliance that is the Alice In Wonderland.

6. A new study suggested that the bedtime story was dying out. According to researchers, the average modern day child receives three bedtime stories a week.

7. Over on The Edge, Katie Dale asks whether YA girls are too skinny?

8. And finally, Women Write About Comics talks about female antiheroes here. Though the piece is focusing specifically on TV, there’s a lot of crossover to literature in it.

If you’d like to catch up on previous posts in this series, they’re available here. See you next week!

Categories
Everything else

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 on writing: “”Be as adventurous as you can! Don’t aim for the middle!”
  • How Stories Help Sick Kids discusses the redemptive and positive power of storytelling. I was struck by the last paragraph (sorry for the spoiler!) where they say that realising “that you can have complete transformation from a single story almost seems too magical to parents, but we do it over and over again.” The skill and transformational impact of storytelling is something to be recognised.
  • Holly Bourne wrote about love in YA fiction for the Huffington Post. Her piece “Are Happily-ever-afters in YA Novels Bad for Teenagers’ Love Lifes?” is excellent. 
  • Birmingham Library opened – and it’s GORGEOUS. Have a look at the pretty here.
  • I know it’s a Daily Mail link (sorry), but the research it refers to is really interesting “Picture books DO boost literacy”, and the original press release is available here.
  • And finally, the BEST thing in the world is happening which I am VERY excited about. The Federation of Children’s Book Groups are holding a festival in Birmingham on November 9th. I am going. You should too! You’ll get to see Micheal Morpurgo, Clara Vulliamy, David Almond, James Mayhew, Emma Chichester Clark and get to spend the day with some very booky very amazing people. What’s not to love?

If you’d like to view previous posts in this series, they’re available here. See you next time!

Categories
Everything else

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, I hope that’s okay with everyone?
  • It’s nearly back to school time! Are all you parents taking a small sigh of relief? 😉 Here’s a back to school quiz from the Guardian on modern school stories, and here’s a list of some lovely reading recommendations from Waterstones.
  • The Guardian (quite awesomely) have a sample from Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead. You can read the first chapter here.
  • Following the last #kidbkgrp, @childtastic wrote this thought-provoking and eloquent post on strong female characters. If you’ve seen anything else on the topic, do let me know?
  • Also on a similar theme, Kate Mosse asks “Where have all the brave girls gone?”. As a sidebar, I’m really loving what the Guardian are doing in their children’s book sections at the moment – kudos to them.
  •  San Diego State University launched the Unjournal of Children’s Literature. The first issue is available here and features a really interesting  article on the place of female identity in the Stoneheart trilogy.
  • @storyseekersUK published a piece on the future of sharing books with children, covering the future of bookshops and reading. It’s really thoughtful and I’d encourage you to check it out. It also led me to this piece from Nosy Crow discussing what (and how) book reviews matter to you.
  • On a Nosy Crow kick, I found this piece from Elli Woollard very intriguing. In it, she discusses her family and their reaction to A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton. I was interested to see what other people were making of a book that I’d read and not really been blown away by (though don’t be misled, I did like it a lot).

BONG. That’s it for now! If you’d like to view other posts in this series, they’re available here. See you next time!

Categories
Everything else

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. I can’t tell you how beautiful I found this; suffice to say, it made me cry. What an utterly lovely tribute. I hope to visit some day.

2. RL Stine has shared an awesome pack of resources. It covers how to get ideas, how to beat writers block and it’s all free (thank you RL Stine!). It can be downloaded here.

3. It was the very amazing E Nesbit’s birthday on August 15th. There was a lovely Google Doodle to celebrate and Hesperus Press posted the front cover of The Story Of The Treasure Seekers which they’re republishing in September! Hurrah!

4. Though “You can do anything : must every kid movie reinforce the cult of self-esteem?” relates to kids’ movies, it has some fascinating thoughts on the nature of story and storying. Try reading ‘book’ every time they mention movie.

5. The Guardian children’s fiction prize shortlist revealed an exciting US-UK split as “two American authors battle it out with two UK authors” 

6. And finally, the trailer for How I Live Now is out. It’s the film of the Meg Rosoff novel. And it looks really, really good.

If you’d like to view other posts in this series, they’re available here. See you next week!

Categories
Everything else

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 know it all!

So what’s been happening in the world of children’s literature?

1. The great children’s literature academic and writer Perry Nodelman has released one of his essays online, and it’s a must for anyone who is interested in picture books. Nodelman’s one of the most approachable and interesting writers I know, and his work is always thought-provoking and revelatory. “On the border between Implication and Actuality : Children Inside and Outside of Picture Books” can be read here.

3. On the subject of picture books, here’s a list of positive representations of disabled children in picture books. It’s a comprehensive and lengthy list, worthy of checking out.

4. This list of resources on book banning is excellent – it includes lesson plans, discussion resources and more. There’s a particular children’s literature connection with the discussion on teaching a book where the author has a very specific personal mindset – the example given is that of Orson Scott Card and his YA novel ‘Ender’s Game’.

5. Though it’s an oldie, it’s still worthy of substantial note. One of the first ever children’s literature resources I discovered on the internet (and one that made me realise that the Chalet School was ‘okay’ to be thought of in Proper Tones) was Ju Gosling’s brilliant Virtual Worlds Of Girls. Go. Go browse!  It’s Dead Good!

6. Did you know this ‘ere blog is also on that there Facebook? It’s true, come and like it if Facebook is your thing!

7. There’s a new chair for the Chair of the Working Party for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals (and yes, I had to copy and paste that wording..!) . Good luck Joy! 😀

7. And finally, I think this might be the topic of the next #kidbkgrp … what do you reckon?

See you next week!  😉

Categories
Everything else

Sunday catch up

Hello! How’s things? Still sizzlingly hot where you are? Me too *fans self*. Anyway, grab an ice-cream and get up to date on the things that caught my eye this week.

1. This blog post from Lucy Coats is the big thing that caught my eye this week. Instead of sweets on the supermarket checkouts, she says, how about children’s books? I KNOW RIGHT? I mean, there’s a lot of issues that would need to be dealt with but a lot of me that sort  of goes OH MY GOD WHY THE HECK NOT? It’s definitely one to have a think about.

2. Over on Playing By The Book, there’s an outstanding (and I genuinely mean that) post about paintings / artworks which feature in children’s literature. The list covers a host of different countries and where possible has highlighted the actual paintings in the book – so for Dogs’ Night by Meredith Hooper (which I review here) it has links to the paintings which have been  featured and also the National Gallery itself. It’s a very epic resource and one that should prove hugely useful.

3. Not necessarily children’s literature related, but still something worth highlighting is Powtoon which I discovered this week. It is an online based video editing software and it is really, really good. I like the useability of it and also the quirky nature of the animations at your disposal. There’s definitely a lot of opportunity with it to use it in an educational setting. Here’s one I created all about how amazing  reading a book is.

Categories
Everything else

Sunday catch up

Hello! Here’s some of the news and articles I came across this week from the world of children’s literature.

1. After reading the excellent and poetic Red Ink (which I then added to my books about bereavement reading list), this article in the Guardian had a lot of relevance for me. In it, the author asks whether young children should go to funerals or not. There’s also some guidance from counselling professionals in the article which is very worth a read should you be struggling with a decision of this nature. Articles and moments like this remind me why I keep my reading lists. It’s in the hope that somehow one of these books may help to mediate a child and a family through one of the darkest of moments and that’s why I keep them. Please do let me know if there’s any titles you would particularly reccommend. You can comment below or, if you’d be more comfortable, email me.

2. On the topic of diversity in children’s and YA literature, here Non Pratt from Catnip Publishing talks about “The Lack of LGBTQ YA in the UK” and here Mark McGlashan argues that LGBT inclusive texts should be utilised in primary schools. I need to look more at McGlashan’s research in order to comment more thoroughly on his findings, but it’s clear to me (and has been for some time) that children deserve a right to see themselves and their familial contexts reflected in our societal literature. I’ll let you know once I’m able to find out more on his findings.

3. Patrick Ness and Shoo Rayner had an epic, articulate and polite discussion on the ‘suitability of YA literature for ‘children”. Rayner’s blog post which sparked it all off is available here and a roundup from the Guardian is available here. I think there’s a world of issues with Rayner’s blogpost and the fact that our adult perspective is nowhere near that as a teenage or child readers. You can’t map your experience of childhood onto todays. However, as with a lot of these things, it is worth taking the time to read these posts and comments and formalising and confirming your own stance of things. If there’s one thing I’ve ever believed regarding children’s literature and the critique of it, it is that you have a voice and your opinion matters.

If you’d like to view other posts in this series, they’re available here. See you next week!

Categories
Everything else

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: “How to Really Read Racist Books to Your Kids” It’s one of those things you really need to read.  It reminded me of this other blog post: “How to be a fan of problematic things”. Both posts are really brilliant in how they approach the issue of reading difficult and problematic texts with a modern day perspective.

2. If you’ve not discovered KM Peyton (who is one of my utter author loves) have a look at this review of Fly-by-night. It totally sums up why KM Peyton is the wonder that she is. Also on a KM Peyton note, have a look at this beautiful piece from Meg Rosoff.

3. I *loved* this. One professor asked his students to do him a comic instead of take a final exam. Clearly the students chose the right option in comic-making 😉 and here are the results.

4. And finally, here’s some excellent posts on diversity with a lot of links in them that are worthwhile to take a bit of time in exploring: “Female Sexuality in YA Fiction : Exploring the range of experiences” and “Heck YA, Diversity! Pro-Tips Edition”.

If you’d like to view other posts in this series, they’re available here. See you next week!

Categories
Everything else

Sunday round up and reflections

It’s that time of the week again! Here’s a catch-up of things in the world of children’s literature that you may have missed. Warning, it includes rants, farting and school stories. Well, would you expect anything less of me? 😉

1. Several new school stories have been released this week. They’re middle grade and the start of a series and all look really interesting. Here’s a preview of “Stars” by Laura + Luke Jennings and here’s a preview of “First Term At L’Etoile” by Holly & Kelly Willoughby. I’ve had a look at both and I really like the Enid Blyton-y meets Alice-Miranda meets Noel Streatfield overtones of them. They’re both very much on my TBR pile now.

2. In the world of interesting articles, these caught my eye. Laura Lam, author of Pantomime, writes a fascinating article on “The Grey of Gender : Intersex and Gender Variant / Non-Binary Characters in YA”. It does include mild spoilers for Pantomime itself (which I review here) so if you’re wary of spoilers stay away until you’ve read it. It is very much worth reading!

In this piece (“Get rid of the parents!”), Julia Golding wonders why there are so many orphans in children’s literature. It’s a thought-provoker for sure, and one worth having a think about.

3. Review wise, I had a look at Azzi In Between (an award winning graphic novel), the vibrant Geek Girl, and The Fabulous Phartlehorn Affair. I also had an in-depth rant about an aspect of Girls’ Own books which really bothers me and had a look at paratextual theory in Egg. That’s a review of a comic about refugees, a review of YA about models,a rant about turn of the century boarding school stories, a look at a MG about musical farting and an in-depth post on picture book theory. How’s that for an eclectic week!

If you’d like to catch up on previous round-ups, you can view them here. See you next week!

Categories
Everything else

Sunday round up and reflections

Look, it’s a new series! I’m hoping to do this sort of catch up post as a bit of a weekly thing. There’s a lot of good stuff that flies around the Twittersphere and so this series of round-up posts is designed to catch some of them that you may have missed and stuff that I think warrants highlighting. And things I, to be frank, just like.

1. It’s been a big week in children’s literature as Malorie Blackman continued to storm the media following her being announced as Children’s Laureate. I’m in great love with what she’s been saying and long may it continue. Here she talks about the need for “more books about non-white children” (a sentiment reinforced here by Tanya Byrne). In a separate article, Blackman discussess how honest sex scenes in books will stop young people learning from p*rn (asterisked solely to prevent errant search results) and I have to say, she’s on point. Very much so. (As is Sarra Manning who is a bit brilliant in this post on the topic.)

2. Related to the above, there’s been a flurry of interesting posts relating to the issue of diversity in children’s literature. The new issue of Write4Children came out and it was a themed issue on diversity. The range of topics covered, and the skill that they’re covered in, is massively impressive and I’d urge you to have a long look through it. In addition to this, there’s been some interesting blog posts on the topic of diversity. I was particularly struck by this heartfelt and vital post from Rhino Reads “Mommy, Mama and Me and the importance of diversity in children’s books”.

3. In the land of picture books, this article on reading wordless picture books is really interesting (and lavishly illustrated which is always a plus). And I discovered the best / most bonkers range of children’s board books ever! Have you touched these? Are they amazing? Are they terrifying? I need to know!

See you next week 🙂

Categories
Everything else

Reflections

As you may know, I’m a one for taking a moment out every now and then to reflect on things. I think sometimes, especially in this golden age of children’s literature, it’s possible to become lost in the ever wondrous newness of things, and so this post is an attempt to redress that. And also it’s to share some other stuff (I know, pithiest sentence ever. I’m ill, don’t give me grief :p)

1. Representation of Children’s Books in mainstream media

Julia Donaldson wrote an excellent piece in the Daily Telegraph about how we don’t take children’s literature seriously enough. I read the comments on this piece (don’t, as one of my fabulous Twitter friends advised, ever read online comments) and wrote this in response. A few days later, the Guardian published this piece of eye-opening (and infuriating) research about the nature of reviewing and being reviewed in the print media.

I think this topic is Becoming A Bit Of A Thing for me. I know that papers like the Guardian have substantial online coverage, but it’s an attitude that does not translate into their print version. And that’s sort of my issue. It’s about breaking out of the echo-chamber, outside of the ‘children’s literature space’ and into the ‘literature space’. It’s about not housing the children’s literature, picture books, YA reviews, whatever, in a fenced and contained space at the back of the supplement, or fifteen clicks away from the main site corralled in a children’s book section, it’s about treating these books (which are the first thing your children read) with the respect and excitement and the time that they deserve. Recently the Independent announced that they’re launching a new Children’s Book blog which is very exciting and something I’ll be definitely watching. And my offer to write for the Guardian (I’ll even do my own proof-reading!) is still on.

2. Reviews

Just in case you missed them, here are some of my most popular reviews / pieces of the last thirty days. Follow Me Down by Tanya Byrne,  Pantomime by Laura Lam, two Chalet School reviews (Genius and Two Sams), and two slightly more theoretical pieces:- The Use Of Framing And Composition in Ellen and Penguin (by Clara Vulliamy) and a thing about the Complications of Being Merely Whelmed by a book. I’m hoping to do a few more ‘in-depth’ picture book reviews in the future so would welcome titles of a particularly writeable nature (I think my next may be something on the use of colour in  Beegu following this lovely review over on Childtastic which made me discover this incredible book).

3. NEW CHILDREN’S LAUREATE

There was a point on Wednesday, when I fell in love with our new children’s laureate. Of course I knew how good Malorie Blackman was (I gave away copies of Noughts and Crosses for World Book Night 2013 and reviewed it here). And then I read this and saw her namecheck the Chalet School and I swooned a little bit. Malorie, if you ever fancy being interviewed about the Chalet School, you let me know okay?