ReadingCloud: engaging children, parents and educators in reading for enjoyment
Pickabook - One Stop Shop for Schools - Every book for Education

We have updated our cookie policy to reflect recent changes in the UK/EU law concerning the use of cookies and tracking technologies. We use cookies on this website (including the page you are currently viewing) to ensure that the site functions smoothly and to help us understand how we can improve it. If you continue without changing your settings, you are agreeing to receive all cookies from the SLA website.

or view our cookie policy to find out more

Show Menu | Show Sidebar (Login/Search)

SLA Blog » Recent PostsRSS Feed RSS

The SLA blog contains news about the SLA and topical information of general interest to our members. The blog has been running since 2004. An RSS 2.0 feed and information about how to subscribe to the blog are available.

Older blog posts are still available, though archived, on the website, but please check the date at the top of the post to make sure the offer or information is likely to be valid.

In conversation with Sarah Crossan

Sarah CSarah Crossan is the award-winning author of five YA books, including The Weight of Water and her latest title, One (Winner of the 2016 Carnegie Medal). Sarah has a passion for words: written and spoken; poetry and prose. Guaranteed to make you laugh (and possibly cry), join star of the YA fiction scene for a chat about her literary heroes, inspiration, research and more.     

You will also have the chance to get your book signed by Sarah after this event.

Suitable for ages 9+. All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. It’s 6pm on Friday 29th July at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare's Globe. Tickets are £8. Full details on the website.

0 comments · Add a comment

YA Shot 2016

YA ShotYA Shot is an author-run, author-led not-for profit organisation that hosts a Young Adult and Children’s Literature festival to raise money and resources for a year-long programme pairing libraries and schools for free author events. YA Shot aims to foster a love of reading, inspire a passion for writing, and encourage aspirations to careers in the Arts. YA Shot are supported by Arts Council England, Hillingdon Council and Waterstones Uxbridge.   The goal of the organisation is to promote equal access and opportunities as regards reading, writing and working in the Arts for everyone.

This year, the one-day YA Shot festival is on 22 October 2016 in Uxbridge, London. It is an opportunity to meet authors, publicists and publishers and enjoy a wide range of events from workshops on vlogging and creating fantasy worlds to panels on how writing can convey positive messages about consent and romantic relationships, and from ‘in conversation’ events about when kids have to rescue adults to signing sessions and workshops on getting started in the publishing industry.

This year the festival will host 72 authors (including 2015 Carnegie Winner Tanya Landman, Holly Bourne, Melinda Salisbury, Zoella book-club author Sara Barnard, and Holly Smale) as well as 12 top book-bloggers and vloggers.

YA Shot would love as many passionate young people as possible to get the opportunity to engage with authors while learning skills to help them in the future to gain a career in the world of books.  

The YA Shot Libraries-Schools Programme brings communities together by pairing public libraries and local disadvantaged schools to work towards the common goal of promoting reading for pleasure. With the aim to encourage a new generation of readers and authors who care about the future of libraries and books: so crucial for learning, enjoyment and the development of empathy. The libraries in the Programme identify schools they believe are in most need and coordinate with YA Shot, the school and the visiting author to create the opportunity to help the young people become more interested in books, authorship and the Arts through a free author event. In a recent Society of Authors survey, over 99% of people who had arranged an author visit found it to have a great impact on the young people involved, encouraging reading for pleasure, wider reading and creative writing. This impact was noted to be stronger amongst reluctant readers and pupils with Special Educational Needs.

For the academic year 2016/2017, YA Shot will be working with two library partners: Haringey Libraries in London and Sunderland Libraries. YA Shot reached out to Sunderland specifically in the wake of the particularly devastating cuts they’ve received, and are absolutely delighted to be supporting them in moving forwards as they continue to offer a fantastic service to the local community, including local young people. If there is any avenue for encouraging other libraries – particularly ones that have faced swinging cuts – to apply for the Programme (it’s free, including free to apply) YA Shot are already looking to choose partners for 2017/2018 and welcome applications from any and all UK library groups and systems eager to run free author visits with local schools.

Further information is available on the website.  Tickets (£15 concession, £20 adult) can also be purchased through Box Office via the website: there are no additional charges or fees.

0 comments · Add a comment

Frank Cottrell Boyce Proms Lecture 2016

FrankCottrellBoyce PatronI hope you all saw Frank Cottrell Boyce's Proms lecture reported in the Guardian last weekend - here are a few edited highlights on reading and school libraries if you missed it, plus a link to the whole lecture on the Guardian website.

"I don’t write to help inspire people to become writers. I write to inspire them to become readers. Because I believe good readers make better engineers, and bakers, and surgeons, and parents and partners and are just a lot happier...

When we – teachers, parents, carers, friends – read to our children, I believe that’s what we’re doing. Laying down strata of fuel, fuel studded with fossils and treasures. If we ask for anything back, we burn it off too soon...

Why is this important? Why am I talking about it? Because I fear that the places where this kind of generosity thrives are being destroyed. What are those places? Public spaces. Parks, playing fields, scout huts, libraries and especially school libraries. I regularly go to schools now where there is no library. Or the library has become a “Learning Resource Centre” - which means it’s been kitted out with computers and made to look like a call centre. A book is not a learning resource. It’s the knife that picks the lock of your isolation. It’s a box of delights."

0 comments · Add a comment

Pooh pips Potter to the post and voted favourite children’s book character

Winnie the Pooh has topped the list of favourite childhood book characters in a new poll, beating the popular wizard Harry Potter to the top spot.

The list of favourite characters from childhood books shows Harry Potter in second place, and George from Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five in third, behind the timeless Winnie the Pooh. Other popular characters include Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Lucy from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The poll of 1,200 people who read at least once a week, commissioned by The Reading Agency, reveals the favourite childhood characters across the generations – and the differences. Pooh is a favourite across the ages, while Harry Potter is a firm favourite for nearly half (48%) of 16-24 year olds, but only 3% of those over 55 consider the wizard a favourite. The older generation instead favoured George from The Famous Five and Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit.

When asked what they liked about our favourite characters almost half of people (45%) ranked an adventurous nature top, with a third choosing their favourite character because they felt like a good friend. A British sense of humour could have contributed to a third of people also saying cheekiness and sense of humour are key factors.

Ahead of the Summer Reading Challenge taking place in libraries across the country during July and August, the results shine a light on the benefits of reading, demonstrating what can be learned from our childhood favourites. Over a third (37%) of people said their favourite character taught them ‘It is okay to be different’. A third (30%) said they learned ‘How to be kind to people’ and a quarter learned ‘How to get through difficult times’.

The Summer Reading Challenge is the biggest reading for pleasure programme in the UK, and will see more than three quarters of a million children (age four to 11) pick up books around the country. Now in its 18th year and taking place in 98% of libraries, this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is called the Big Friendly Read, in honour of  the world’s no.1 storyteller Roald Dahl, whose centenary is being celebrated this year  and whose much loved character The Big Friendly Giant hits cinema screens this summer. 

Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency says:

“We know the power of picking up a book you love and discovering a favourite character amongst the pages. The Summer Reading Challenge gives children the chance to be transported and inspired by the adventures of their favourite characters, and read books that can go on to play a fundamental role in their lives.

“For this reason, we were curious about which characters would stand the test of time and stay with us into adulthood, and the ones that would remain firm favourites across the generations.

“This summer we’re excited to be running the Summer Reading Challenge in partnership with libraries around the country, the Roald Dahl Literary Estate and our Scottish sponsors Tesco Bank. We hope that the children walking through the doors of libraries enjoy taking part and finish the summer with a new found love of reading.”

For details on the year’s Summer Reading Challenge and how to take part, see

0 comments · Add a comment

Reading Outside the Box

Dr WhoJoin us on Monday 14th November 2016 at the inspiring and creative venue of the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay for our one-day conference Reading Outside the Box.

Packed with fantastic speakers and sessions, the conference will focus on strategies and ideas around reading for pleasure and its proven wide-ranging impact on children and young people. “Children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers”, according to research from the Institute of Education. Of the many benefits we gain from reading, it is also a proven stress-relief and contributing factor in promoting our well-being and mental health!

Held at the Doctor Who Experience which is a custom-built exhibition and corporate function space located a stone's throw from the BBC studios in Cardiff Bay where Doctor Who is filmed. We will be occupying the private function room on the first floor as well as the exhibition space itself, where delegates will be able to immerse themselves in our keynotes and workshops amid the collection of extraordinary props and artefacts from over 50 years of this extraordinarily creative programme.

Earlybird rate (booked by Friday 30th September 2016): SLA Members £95 / Non-Members £155
Thereafter SLA Members £105 / Non-Members £165
All prices are subject to VAT at 20%.
Please share these details with any colleagues and friends who you think may be interested. The web address is and the Twitter hashtag is #slabox.

0 comments · Add a comment

MA student needs help with short survey!

An MA student at Oxford Brookes University is conducting research into the provision of diverse books in school libraries and would like your help. If you could fill out this short survey (and share it with any friends or colleagues who might have missed it) that would be very much appreciated!

0 comments · Add a comment

CLiPPA 2016 (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award)

Clippa WinnersFor the first time two poets have been crowned winners of the CLiPPA 2016. Former Children's Laureate, poet, performer and broadcaster Michael Rosen wins for his collection A Great Big Cuddle, illustrated by Chris Riddell. He is joined by author and previous CLiPPA shortlisted poet Sarah Crossan for her verse novel, One.

John Hegley, Poet and Chair of the CLiPPA 2016 judges praised the winning books:
“The five shortlisted titles are an exemplary spread of what poetry can be. The winning poets both have their very different inspirations so meticulously architected on the page. As one of the judging panel remarked, together the books proclaim,' it doesn't matter if you're 3 or 16, poetry, is for you!'”
Run by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, the annual Poetry Award is the only one of its kind in the UK, encouraging and celebrating outstanding poetry published for children. The winner’s announcement was made at the finale of The Poetry Show at the National Theatre, a lively celebration of poetry with children at its heart. All of the CLiPPA 2016 shortlisted poets alongside poet and chair of judges John Hegley and winners of the children’s Shadowing Scheme performed to a packed house of poets, educators, publishers, media and schools. Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell brought the ceremony to life, live-drawing the whole event from the stage.
Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said: “At CLPE we are committed to ensuring that poetry is central to children’s learning. Reading, writing, creating and performing poetry is integral to all aspects of developing literacy. The judges have chosen two winners who demonstrate the variety of the poetic form and its wide appeal to all ages. The winning works, and all the shortlisted books, show how important and diverse this art form is and together show just what an accessible and significant contribution poetry can make as children build a love of literature. ”

More than 1000 children from 80 schools took part in the Shadowing Scheme submitting between them nearly 130 films of children performing their favourite poems from the shortlist. The winning performers were invited to the National Theatre to meet the shortlisted poets and take part in specially planned theatre workshops. The winning children then performed on stage alongside the shortlisted poets before the winner announcement.

National Poetry Day’s 2016 theme of ‘messages’ was also announced today with CLiPPA award-winning poets Michael Rosen and Sarah Crossan calling on schools and children to ‘Say it with a Poem.’ Balloons featuring poems from the winning Shadowing Schools and the CLiPPA poets were released into the sky from the National Theatre from a spectacular poetic machine. Conceived by designer David Colombini, “Attachment” allows people to send digital messages, images or videos into the air attached to biodegradable balloons and highlights the power of poetry to convey a message.
Running up to National Poetry Day on 6th October, schools and children can discover the different ways of playing with the theme with a free resources kit for teachers available for download at


0 comments · Add a comment

12 days until the close of Comedy Classroom!!

Comedy Classroom only has 12 more days until the competition is closed.  Exciting times.  Make sure you get your entries in in the next few days by visiting the Comedy Classroom website

0 comments · Add a comment