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SLA Blog » June 2008RSS 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.

Gravett and Reeve win top book awards

This year's winners of the most prestigious British book awards for children and young adults, the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, were announced today at a packed event at the British Library in London.

Announced as the 2008 winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal and Colin Mears Award is Emily Gravett for Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears, in which a small rodent confronts terrifying phobias. It is published by Macmillan.

Tricia Adams, chair of the judging panel commented ‘The attention to detail is astounding. It's such a satisfying experience which incorporates smell, texture, humour and great imagination.'

Accepting the Medal from special guest Michael Portillo, Emily paid tribute to the family pet who inspired the character of the mouse.

The winner of the Carnegie Medal for 2008 is Philip Reeve, for Here Lies Arthur, published by Scholastic. This is a story of Celtic Britain, with Reeve's interpretation of the legendary king having Welsh roots and a character transformed by the tales of Myrddin into the legend we know today.

‘I didn't believe it at frst', said Reeve, ‘but as I got over the shock and it began to sink in, I felt totally honoured'. He also paid tribute to his inspiration for his awarding winning title, John Boorman for his film Excalibur and a book by Geraldine McCaughrean.

The judges as always had an extremely difficult task in selecting one from each of the two shortlists of outstanding books selected from those nominated by children's and school librarians from around the country.

Many school librarians and groups such as SLA Branches around the UK have shadowed the Awards, reading and discussing the shortlisted books and holding their own votes. One particularly creative shadowing scheme is held by the SE Wales branch of SLA, and involves schools in and around Cardiff, where students come together for 2 days to create dramatic presentations of the shortlisted books for the Carnegie Medal. These are then performed in front of other students, and parents and a judging panel which this year included Jane Hutt AM, Welsh Assembly Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills. Special Guest was last year's winner, Meg Rosoff, also on this year's Carnegie shortlist.

student winners with Jane Hutt and Meg RosoffAlthough the presentations are judged for performance, presentation and interpretation, not on the original book, this year's winning group were those who presented Here Lies Arthur, the winning title announced today. The photo shows the winners with Jane Hutt and Meg Rosoff.

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Minister launches latest DCSF book-gifting projects

Minister with boys and booksSurrounded by toddlers and their parents as well as children from Yeading Junior School, Hayes, the Schools Minister Jim Knight recently launched two new projects, each worth £4.5milion.

Speaking at the Ideas Store in Whitechapel on 19th June the Minister officially launched Book Ahead for early years and Boys into Books 5 - 11 for primary schools. Unlike the Boys into Books 11 - 14 project last year where the books went straight to schools to become part of their library stock, these two projects are being handled by local authority library services and are being rolled out around England over the next few months. They will circulate the books among early years settings and primary schools and provide other support and activities to encourage involvement.

Both of these projects, like last year's Boys into Books, are based on Riveting Reads booklists specially commissioned from the School Library Association (SLA), Book Ahead written by Julia Eccleshare from CLPE and Boys into Books 5 - 11 by Chris Brown, Review Editor of The School Librarian and former Chair of the SLA.

At the launch Jim Knight said: ‘There is clear evidence that early exposure to books has a crucial effect on early learning. The number of words a child hears by the age of four correlates closely with later attainment at school.

‘To celebrate the National Year of Reading, Dads should set themselves a summer challenge, to read at least one book from the list with their sons during the school holidays. Books from our book lists also make great presents for relatives not sure what to buy children for birthdays.'

The Minister then spent some time discussing reading choices with junior school boys.

Minister and author discuss listChris Brown, author of Boys into Books 5 - 11 noted ‘The titles in the list have been chosen as books published within the last couple of years which are good reads and which have particular elements of appeal for boys in the 5 to 11 age range.

'Generally boys tend to choose books with action that seldom flags, humour in large dollops and with characters slightly larger than life. Currently extremely popular are fantasy tales of every shade, fast paced stories of youngsters embroiled in spying scenarios and all sorts of buccaneering piracy. High profile TV and cinema features have a great influence but like all readers boys' individual preferences can also be wide and varied and so the list offers a broad and balanced selection too including information books, poetry, graphic styles and long and involving stories.'

The booklists are freely available to all on the SLA website:
Boys into Books 11 - 14
Boys into Books 5 - 11
Book Ahead

Press release

Daily Telegraph article

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School Libraries Leading Learning in Glasgow

SLA Weekend Course 2008 in GlasgowNearly 200 people gathered in Glasgow from 13th to 15th June for the SLA's Annual Weekend Course. There was a real buzz as we contemplated all that we could and should be doing to enable learning in our schools, and enjoyed thought provoking keynote speakers, practical and inspirational optional sessions, lots of wonderful authors and great networking opportunities (not to mention the Ceilidh!)

We'd like to thank all the delegates for making it such a fantastic weekend, all the speakers and optional session leaders, the exhibitors, and the staff at Strathclyde University for being so helpful.

A full report with photos will appear on the website shortly.

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