CONTENTS March 2011
2 Editorial ___________________________________ ___________________________________
3 BfK Rising Talent 2011 Books for Keeps celebrates 12 stars in the making.
7 True Grit Revisited Geoff Fox discusses the enduring
appeal of Charles Portis’s novel. ___________________________________
8 The Grimm Reader Neil Philip explains the importance of the Grimms.
10 Windows into Illustration Karin Littlewood on the illustrations for Immi.
12 400 Years of the King James Bible Michael Rosen on how it came about.
14 Authorgraph No.187 Julie Hearn is interviewed by Nicholas Tucker.
16 Briefing Exhibition • Useful Organisation • Obituaries • Awards
17 Hal’s Reading Diary Roger Mills investigates the appeal of Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Hal.
18 I Wish I’d Written… Jonny Zucker chooses Rodman
Philbrick’s Freak the Mighty. ___________________________________
18 Good Reads Reviews from Cockermouth School Kids Lit Quiz team.
19 REVIEWS Index of Titles and Star Ratings 19 Reviewers 19 Under 5s (Pre-School/Nursery/ Infant) 20 + Editor’s Choice 21
___________________________________ Books for Keeps
5–8 (Infant/Junior) 22 8–10 (Junior/Middle) 25 10–14 (Middle/Secondary) 26 + New Talent 27 14+ (Secondary/Adult) 31
32 Classics in Short No.86 Brian Alderson on Ar thur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons.
March 2011 No.187 ISSN 0143-909X © School Bookshop Association Ltd 2011
COVER STORY This issue’s cover illustration by Mark Owen at Arcangel is from Julie Hearn’s Wreckers. Julie Hearn is interviewed by Nicholas Tucker on page 14. Thanks to Oxford University Press for their help with this March cover.
Editor: Rosemary Stones Managing Director: Richard Hill Publicity: Andrea Reece
Design: Alec Davis, Lydney, Gloucestershire
Editorial correspondence should be sent to Books for Keeps, 1 Effingham Road, London SE12 8NZ
2 Books for Keeps No.187 March 2011
Rosemary Stones, Editor
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stablished in 1979, Public Lending Right (PLR) is the right for authors to receive payment under PLR legislation for the loans of their books by public libraries. In order to calculate what should be paid, loans data is collected from a
sample of public libraries in the UK. This data also provides invaluable information about library borrowing – which books and authors are borrowed and how often.
Figures from the Public Lending Right for the year from July 2009 to June 2010 just released show that seven of the ten most borrowed authors were children’s writers. The seven are the Daisy Meadows brand (Sabrina the Sweet Dreams Fairy etc), Jacqueline Wilson, Francesca Simon (‘Horrid Henry’), Mick Inkpen, Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo), Lauren Child (Charlie and Lola) and Terry Deary (‘Horrible Histories’). Children’s authors have been rising in the ranks of the most borrowed for some years now and the rise matches the increase in children’s library borrowing. (The past six years have seen a continuous rise in borrowing so that almost 80% of five- to ten-year-olds now use libraries.)
All this PLR data serves to underline the importance of Seven of our
Rising Talents at
the British Library. (Photo by Martin Salter)
libraries to children so it is ironic that, at the time of writing, up to 400 libraries are threatened with closure and around half of councils have yet to announce their plans. Widespread protests involving many children’s authors have been taking place up and down the country.
Those who argue that many parents can afford to buy books for their children miss the point. Of course owning books is important (and there are plenty of affluent homes which contain no books) but so is having the chance to borrow books and to participate in all that libraries have to offer – reading groups, festivals, storytelling, baby rhyme times – not to speak of access to librarians who can inform and inspire reading choices.
As Philip Pullman said on hearing the news that Kensal Rise Library in London (which was opened by Mark Twain more than a 100 years ago) is under threat of closure: ‘Libraries are places that anyone can go. They are not just about books, but even if there were only books they’re an opportunity to meet characters and come across ideas you would never have dreamed of. Everyone remembers the first time they went to the library, and even the first book they borrowed.’
The Campaign for the Book organised by children’s writer Alan Gibbons pioneered opposition to library closures. Now a dedicated Facebook site, http://bit.ly/fight4libraries
has been established by the Bookseller which has started a campaign, Fight for Libraries, to engage wider public support. It is also on Twitter at www.twitter.com/fight4libraries
. The London Evening Standard has launched Save Our Libraries Campaign and many other local campaign groups are springing up. With a temporary reprieve for Oxfordshire libraries just announced and threats by campaign groups to take the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Minister Ed Vaizey to court for flouting their legal duty to promote the service, our libraries may yet be saved.
Books for Keeps is available online at www.booksforkeeps.co.uk
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