Two teachers win Blue Peter Book Awards voted for by children

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The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff and The Spy Who Loved School Dinners win children’s book prize

Two teachers, who have written funny and silly books, are top of their class as they win Best Book with Facts and Best Story in the Blue Peter Book Awards 2015, voted for by hundreds of schoolchildren.

Pamela Butchart, who teaches philosophy at secondary school, won Best Story with her latest title The Spy Who Loved School Dinners, which was illustrated by Thomas Flintham.

Andy Seed, a former primary teacher and deputy head for 17 years, won Best Book with Facts with The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff, illustrated by Scott Garrett.

Both were delighted to be crowned this year’s winners and viewers will be able to see them receive their awards on Blue Peter tonight from Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2013-2015 Malorie Blackman, as the show celebrates its 15th anniversary of the prize.

Pamela, who did a book-signing for The Spy Who Loved School Dinners on her wedding day, exclaimed: ‘WOW! Is this real-life?! I’m shocked and utterly over-the-moon about winning this fantastic award! It means the world to me that children voted for my book! Thank you.’

Andy, who grew up watching Blue Peter, said: ‘To win a Blue Peter Book Award is a proper thrill not just because it revives all those happy childhood memories but because the show today does a truly significant job in raising the profile of books and reading at a time when this is needed more than ever. To win any award is a delight but to win the Blue Peter Book Award sets my spine tingling like nothing else.’

The illustrators of the books also expressed their excitement about winning the prize.

Thomas Flintham said: ‘Hooray! What fantastic news! It was exciting enough just to be nominated but to have won has forced me to do a little dance!’

Scott Garrett said: ‘I was so excited to hear that we’d won the Blue Peter Book Award! Blue Peter was a big part of my early years. We’ve all grown up with it and to be part of it AND get an award is something very special to me- I can’t wait to get my badge! Illustrators don’t get inundated with awards, so I’m over the moon to have been awarded this one. Here’s to books!’

A panel of judges including Tom Gates author Liz Pichon, Rastamouse creator Michael de Souza, The Bookseller journalist Anna James, and non-voting chair of judges, Blue Peter editor Ewan Vinnicombe, selected the shortlist from publishers’ submissions.

These were then read and voted on by more than 200 children from ten schools across the UK to decide the winners in each category. The winners were announced on a special World Book Day morning bulletin of Newsround.

Pupils at Perry Wood Nursery and Primary School in Worcester said it was an ‘honour’ and ‘exciting as only ten schools in the whole of England can choose the winners of the Blue Peter Book Awards.’

The enormously popular Blue Peter Book Awards are managed by reading charity Booktrust, which works with schools to get more children reading for pleasure. The Awards celebrate the best authors, most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children.

Ewan Vinnicombe, Editor, Blue Peter said: ‘It’s fantastic that in our 15th year of the Blue Peter Book Awards we have given 200 children across the UK the chance to vote for their favourite books. Pamela and Thomas, Andy and Scott should be really proud and Blue Peter will continue to promote children’s books and our viewers’ love of reading.’

The shortlist:

Best Book with Facts

Animalium written by Jenny Broom and illustrated by Katie Scott (Big Picture Press)

  • Corpse Talk: Season 1 by Adam Murphy (David Fickling Books)
  • The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff written by Andy Seed and illustrated by Scott Garrett (Bloomsbury)

Best Story

  •  Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen (Doubleday Children’s)
  • Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death by Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • The Spy Who Loved School Dinners written by Pamela Butchart and illustrated by Thomas Flintham (Nosy Crow)

The judges:

  • Michael de Souza – Co-creator of the Rastamouse book series and co-founder of Little Roots Ltd
  • Anna James – Editor, We Love This Book and Media Editor, The Bookseller, and former school librarian
  • Liz Pichon – author of the Tom Gates series, and winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards Best Story 2013
  • Ewan Vinnicombe (non-voting chair) – Editor, Blue Peter and Head of Presentation for CBeebies and CBBC

Keep up-to-date with the Awards at http://www.booktrust.org.uk/bluepeter and on Twitter by following @Booktrust and #BPBA

The Blue Peter Book Awards have been celebrating children’s literature since 2000. The reading charity Booktrust has managed the Blue Peter Book Awards since 2008. The 2014 winners were Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell for Best Story and Tony Robinson’s Weird World of Wonders: World War II by Tony Robinson and illustrated by Del Thorpe for Best Book with Facts www.booktrust.org.uk/bluepeter

Blue Peter is the longest running children’s magazine programme in the world. As well as the Book Awards, the show’s family of presenters, live studio home, amazing competitions, incredible challenges, live music, interviews with celebrities, access behind the scenes, pets, makes and bakes, free games online and most importantly its commitment to the audience are all long standing elements of this iconic show. www.bbc.co.uk/bluepeter

Booktrust is Britain’s largest reading charity. It has a vision of a society where nobody misses out on the life-changing benefits that reading can bring. Booktrust is responsible for a number of successful national reading promotions, sponsored book prizes and creative reading projects aimed at encouraging readers to discover and enjoy books. www.booktrust.org.uk

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“Wartime Fashion” Sticker Dressing from Usborne

 

usborne 6The Fableists jumped at the chance of a sneak peek at Usborne’s latest “Sticker Dolly Dressing” book, available now. This release features all the engrossing sticking fun of previous issues – but with a historical twist.

HSDD wartime fashion

In time to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, Sticker Dressing Wartime Fashion is a detailed look at the distinctive fashions that developed out of necessity during the wartime period. The book features the same layout as previous books in this series with a page illustrated around a theme and a collection of over 170 stickers to match to the appropriate page.

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Each page’s theme shows examples of how men and women may have dressed for certain jobs, events or conditions during WWII, such as ‘Under Occupation’, ‘Saying Goodbye’, and ‘On Duty’. There are also examples of what war brides may have worn and a ‘Make Do and Mend’ page. Informative notes, photographs and sketches explaining the clothes and adding historical context accompany each of the fashions.

air raid

Our copy arrived just in time for half term and these Fableists spent hours poring over the facts and images and carefully dressing each character in the book. They were fascinated by the given names of the era, some of which they had never heard, while others are currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

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Many of the styles looked out of date to their eyes but they were able recognise some of the fashions from exhibits at the V&A and other museums. Of particular interest was the look at the unique ‘make do and mend’ fashions that developed during the war. This is the perfect companion to the Fashion on the Ration exhibition at Imperial War Museum London, which opens Thursday 5th March.

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Wartime Fashion also highlights internet links to websites where you can find out more about life in the Second World War. This edition is aimed at the 7+ age group and is £5.99 via the Usborne site.

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A comic strip with facts, beautifully illustrated fiction and non-fiction, gripping stories and funny books are all on the shortlist for the Blue Peter Book Awards

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Award-winning author and illustrator Chris Riddell’s latest book on the adventures of Goth Girl is among six children’s books shortlisted for the prestigious Blue Peter Book Awards 2015.

For the first time, a book using comic strips to tell real-life stories is also nominated for an award.

The Blue Peter Book Awards, which are celebrating their 15th year, are special as they ask children to read the shortlisted books and then vote for the two winners.

The shortlist was announced live on today’s (Thursday December 4th) Blue Peter by Michael Morpurgo, author of more than 120 children’s books, including War Horse, and President of the reading charity Booktrust, which manages the Blue Peter Book Awards.

Morpurgo was also presented with the CBBC show’s highest accolade, the gold Blue Peter badge, for inspiring millions of children with his books.

Chris Riddell’s Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death is vying for the Best Story Award along with Boy in the Tower by primary school teacher Polly Ho-Yen and The Spy Who Loved School Dinners written by Pamela Butchart and illustrated by Thomas Flintham.

Adam Murphy’s Corpse Talk, which uses comic strips to tell the stories of scientists, writers, sovereigns and rebels from history, is competing for the Best Book with Facts with Animalium written by Jenny Broom and illustrated by Katie Scott, and The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff written by Andy Seed and illustrated by Scott Garrett.

The four judges – Liz Pichon, Michael de Souza, Anna James and Ewan Vinnicombe – highlighted the quality of illustrations used in many of this year’s shortlisted books, as well as the brilliant stories and imaginations of the authors.

Liz Pichon, author of the Tom Gates series, and winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards Best Story 2013, said: ‘We have a brilliant selection, something for everyone. There’s beautifully illustrated fiction, gripping stories, funny books and the FIRST comic strip style book with facts which is fantastic.

‘We keep hearing that kids don’t read anymore, but if you get the right books in front of them they really will – I’ve seen it!

‘The Blue Peter Awards are a fantastic way of showcasing even more great books.’
Michael de Souza, co-creator of Rastamouse said: ‘We have a great selection of original stories as well as a book using comic strips, which is very different.

‘Books open up a new world for children. If we want to encourage children to read, we need to give them great stories, great illustrations and something they can relate to.’

Blue Peter Editor Ewan Vinnicombe, who was the non-voting Chair of the judging panel, said: ‘In our 15th year of the Blue Peter Book Awards I’m really excited with the judges’ shortlist. There is such a good range of titles in the mix and I can’t wait to find out on World Book Day when the winners are revealed – live on Blue Peter.

‘It was great that we could honour Michael Morpurgo with a Blue Peter gold badge. His stories have inspired so many children over so many years to read and love books.’
Approximately 200 children from 10 schools across the UK will read the shortlisted books and vote for their favourites in each category. The two winning books will be announced on the Blue Peter programme scheduled for World Book Day on 5 March 2015.
The enormously popular Blue Peter Book Awards, which are managed by Booktrust, celebrate the best authors, most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children.

The shortlist:
Best Book with Facts
Animalium written by Jenny Broom and illustrated by Katie Scott (Big Picture Press)
Corpse Talk: Season 1 by Adam Murphy (David Fickling Books)
The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff written by Andy Seed and illustrated by Scott Garrett (Bloomsbury)

Best Story
Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen (Doubleday Children’s)
Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death by Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books)
The Spy Who Loved School Dinners written by Pamela Butchart and illustrated by Thomas Flintham (Nosy Crow)

The judges for this year’s Awards are:
• Michael de Souza – Co-creator of the Rastamouse book series and co-founder of Little Roots Ltd.
• Anna James – Editor, We Love This Book and Media Editor, The Bookseller, and former school librarian
• Liz Pichon – author of the Tom Gates series, and winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards Best Story 2013
• Ewan Vinnicombe (non-voting chair) – Editor, Blue Peter and Head of Presentation for CBeebies and CBBC

Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime Begins in Childhood

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“A bucket list of books to create a well-read life, chosen by Amazon editors”

Amazon UK have followed their couterparts across the pond and released their list of the 100 books to read in your lifetime.  The idea is to promote reading as a joy, rather than presenting a list that makes you feel inadequate. It is not meant as homework, or as a challenge but, rather to inspire a love of reading from childhood through adulthood.

Of course, as Amazon recognises, everyone will have their own opinion as to which books should appear on the list. They are encouraging the debate and hoping that readers will register at Goodreads  to list their own favourites.

Whether you agree or not, check out the list and if the children’s books on the list aren’t in your library, you might consider adding them to your list for the next birthday in your family.

Enjoy!

Forget the Latest Toy the Best Gift is a Love of Reading

Books!

Books!

The subject line might sound a tad earnest but The Fableists do love kids’ books! We will be featuring book related stories like reviews and interviews on our blog in the coming months.

Like The Fableists’ clothes, treasured books are kept or passed on. I have most of the books from my own childhood. They have moved around the world by now and holding on to them has probably cost a fortune but they’re family heirlooms. Some of them are out of print, some are representative of a time and place, some show that the pages were read over and over by two children (and now four more) and some are signed.

I think every parent worries at some point about their child’s reading and with school systems eager to get kids reading earlier and earlier, the pressure is on, for parents and for the kids. Getting children to love reading is a long term project and can take a lot of effort and patience.books 2

So, how can we get our kids to love (or at least like) to read?

Start young: there is nothing so lovely as having your little one perched on your lap, snuggling and sharing a story. But it is never too late. Y

Younger children are drawn to colourful pages with bits they can touch and feel. Each book is an exciting adventure and you can build on that as they get bigger. For an older child who isn’t so keen, try to find books that suit their interests. I remember one Christmas my brother got Murder at the Superbowl (or something like that) – not exactly a great work of literature but he read it.

Don’t push your readers before they’re ready and always let them take backwards steps. Even a competent reader likes to relax and disappear in to big, colourful pictures. Reading has to be fun. Try graphic novels, comics or funny poems – it’s still reading. Encourage and applaud any reading.

Books!

More Books

We make buying books something really special in our family. Same with visiting the library, reading stories and anything around books. Buying books is a treat for our kids. The first place we visit in a town or village is the local book shop. Finding a good children’s book shop is worth its weight in gold. The kids all spread out and find books and sit down and flip through them.

My kids also love going to the library. We try to make it a weekly trip. Let them choose the books they want to read – mine never read the ones I ‘suggest’. If you are trying to build up your own collection of books, libraries are always selling off their old stock to make room for new books. Local boot sales, yard sales, bric-a-brac and antique markets usually have books for sale too. Getting books should be made as special and exciting as getting a toy.

Give your kids as much motivation as possible to be keen on books. Let them see you reading. Make the buying/borrowing of books a special occasion and when you are reading to or with your child, eliminate distractions, sit close to them, talk to your child about the book, let them tell you what they think and give them your undivided attention. If reading is a special family activity, they will learn to share your passion.

Sarah