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SLA Blog » May 2019RSS 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.

2019 YA Book Prize winner revealed

This year's winner of the YA Book Prize was revealed at Hay-on-Wye Literature Festival on Thursday 30th May.

A book about friendship and the importance of truth in today's lives of teenagers.

Congratulations to Sara Barnard for Goodbye Perfect.

YA Book Prize 2019

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What is your school doing for #Pyjamarama next week? Spread the word for bedtime stories which are so important to children and adults alike.


Pjr Logo 1200 X 675 Blue and Peach Narrow Web

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Online sexual harassment resources

Keeping safe online are lessons which need to be taught to our children and young people. There are increasing numbers of books which tackle this subject and school librarians will be able to point young people towards. Childnet International have brought together young people in the UK, Hungary and Denmark to tackle online sexual harassment. They have created a series of films to look at this ever-present issue of sexual harassment on the internet. More details here

Tackling sexual harassment online

PDF file, 175 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


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June is an exciting month for us here at the SLA, with the announcement of our honour list for School Librarian of the Year , our joint conference with YLG Building Identity, Building Readers between the 21st - 23rd and our awards ceremeony for SLYA on the 27th. With so much to celebrate we want to involve all school library staff in our library pride! We have enjoyed looking at the entries for CILIP SLG's recent photo challenge #slglibmaychallenge and we've decided to run our own challenge between 3rd - 27th June, with the emphasis on library staff. You can see the prompts below and the hashtag to use is #schllibstaffpride , we will be awarding a prize at the end to a consistent , inventive contributor so get your thinking caps on! Other exciting social media events to come, watch this space!

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Phoenix comics for schools


The Phoenix Comics 16x9Booktrust is running a competition for 30 schools to win a huge pile of brilliant comics.

The Phoenix - a weekly comic for children aged 6-12, is packed full of fun stories and information.

And now Booktrust are giving your students the chance to win possibly enough to give every single student in Key Stage 2 a copy of their own.

Enter before the closing date of 11pm on Monday, 17 June.

Individuals are welcome to enter on behalf of a school, but the prize will only be sent to a school address.




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J.M. Barrie Centre for Literature opens


A Georgian villa and terraced gardens in Dumfries where the author J.M. Barrie played as a child, and which later inspired his best-loved work Peter Pan, is reopening as Scotland’s first National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling.

A wonderful place to point your families towards.

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The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2019


Royal Society Young Peoples Prize Logo 2019 RGBThe Royal Society have announced the shortlist of books for this science prize. With Coding, Bacteria and Space on the list, what’s not to like? If you’ve not been lucky enough to win a set of the shortlist, this is a must-purchase list, with a reminder to apply next year to win a full set to encourage your pupils to explore various aspects of science.


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Books, Reading and Posting Online

Guest blog - Naomi Korn is one of UK’s leading experts in copyright, data protection & GDPR, rights and licensing. She is the founder of Naomi Korn Associates and has been supporting the public, corporate, education and charity sectors on rights management and rights exploitation for the last 20 years. 

Books; Reading and Posting Online: Caring, Sharing and Copyright

Naomi Korn www.naomikorn.com

Sharing is caring, as we are taught, from childhood. It’s socially and culturally acceptable and often encouraged for a myriad of reasons and important societal benefits. However, copyright law does not work on the same premise. Sharing without permission, (which would include copying, publishing, renting, reproducing online etc) is more than just not caring, it is often illegal. The Statue of Anne, transposed into UK law over 300 years ago, uniformly established the principle that book publishing is an expensive business and publishers, (and later authors and illustrators), have the exclusive rights to control the sharing of their work, and to get money for it if they want. Together with the moral rights to be named as the author, for example, collectively these rights aim to protect and remunerate all the stakeholders involved in new content creation.

Copyright law in the UK (and often mirrored across the world) establishes that whilst there are certain acts, such as personal use; copying for preservation; certain educational uses etc, which will enable certain types of sharing without permission, these are set within the context of creators/rights holders’ exclusive ability to control how their works are reproduced and made available. This makes sense. All the stakeholders involved in book creation: authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, need to get a piece of the pie, somewhere along the way, to provide financial benefit to enable the book to have been written, illustrated, published and marketed in the first place. This thus creates a cycle of economic benefit to encourage investment in new titles, ad infinitum, whether this is at the point of creation (open access - through funding, for example) and/or access (consumer). Of course, there are more complex models than this, including hybrid academic publishing models, which combine traditional publishing models with open access.

Regardless of the restrictions in copyright law, the Public Lending Right (PLR) 1 enables libraries to lend books to users. It’s a crucial carving out of clear blue waters to remunerate authors, illustrators and other contributors, every time their book, e-book etc is borrowed from a library. The PLR acknowledges the publishing value chain, respects copyright law, facilitates reading, supports the vital role of libraries, and ultimately can provide authors and illustrators with regular income. A win-win for everyone.

So, what does this mean for reading and digital story-telling online via social media platforms, like YouTube? Commentary has already been written about digital story telling from a US perspective 2 . However, there are some key issues which need to be flagged in order to provide a more comprehensive view than has been suggested. Copyright laws across the world will be based on the same key principles outlined in the Berne Convention 3 however they will include variations and country specific nuances. This means for example, that what may be ok in one country is not ok in another. The US has a relatively generous Fair Use doctrine built into copyright laws, whilst the EU, including the UK, has more prescriptive and effectively less permissive Fair Dealing defenses. So, what may be ok for a user to do in one country without permission may not be ok for a user to do in another country. Geo-blocking, which is used by some rights holders, like the BBC, can create silos of legally accessible content directed towards certain users who have legitimate access, but unless the state itself has restricted access and/or the user has restricted access themselves (through parental controls, for example) the majority of online content will be in theory accessible to most


In general terms, the exceptions to copyright will at the same time, provide a balanced legislative framework, enabling certain important activities thatmsupport cultural activities, education and personal use to continue, whilst recognising that rights holders should and need to be empowered to control access to their content. Most activities therefore that take place in schools will be facilitated by a combination of licences and exceptions to copyright. Use (access, downloading and uploading) of online publishing platforms for digital story telling, like YouTube and Facebook, is regulated by their terms and conditions. These broadly place the onus of responsibility for lawful contentbeing posted on these platforms, onto the up-loader of the content. Subsequent lawful use of this content is also regulated by the terms and conditions of the platform provider. Together with a generous licence back to the platform provider every time that content is uploaded, the person uploading content has both contract law responsibilities, as well as copyright law responsibilities (see above) to ensure that the content is lawful. It is worth noting that new laws recently passed across the EU - encapsulated within the new EU Copyright Directive 4 – will increase the responsibility of the online publishing platforms to ensure that they filter out potentially unlawful content before it is posted, and to work more collaboratively with rights holders to achieve more compliance. The recent implementation of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a good example of how laws generated from the EU, can have successful global impact. It is highly likely that the new Copyright Directive will be as successful globally in regulating the posting of illegal content via online publishing platforms as GDPR has been in restricting the commoditization of personal data. Far from not being fit for the digital age, copyright laws are changing fast to enforce rights across all types of media and medium.

So, to make a long story short, some key take-homes about access to books, story telling and digital storytelling….

  •  Borrowing books from a library is lawful, to be encouraged and everyone benefits.

  •  Reading books borrowed from a library and/or purchased, to one-self or aloud to  someone else or a small group of people in a private or domestic setting, is a lawful  and beautiful activity.

  •   Reading aloud to small groups, like classroom children, is enabled by certain        exceptions to copyright.

  •   Licences facilitate photocopying of multiple copies of small sections of books and/or  organizational access to compendiums of econtent.

  •    Including small quotes of a published book for the purposes of making a point    illustrating a point – is lawful in most jurisdictions.

However, publishing stories which are still in copyright, which would include republishing a print version and/or online publishing via an online platform such as YouTube and/or Facebook is not enabled by the exceptions to copyright and moreover, is governed by the terms and conditions of the online publishing site that is used. Moral rights and ethics aside, a judgment call will neither protect a librarian or provide them with a firm legal basis to justify digital story telling of an in copyright work – because they ultimately carry all the risk and responsibility for uploading lawful content.

Without any consideration for the rights of authors/illustrators/publishers, the reading of a popular current book online will harm the interests of all stakeholders in book production, access and use, which is ultimately sharing and not caring. 

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Job Vacancies, Head Librarian, London: Forest School, London - Head Librarian

Head Librarian
Recruiter: Forest School
Location: London
Salary: Competitive
Sector: Schools
Job Type: Permanent
Closing date: 6 June 2019

Job Description
Forest School is a high performing independent day school for approximately 1400 pupils aged 4-18, situated on the edge of Epping Forest in North East London. Retirement of our Head Librarian means that we are seeking to appoint a creative, confident and enthusiastic qualified librarian with significant IT and people skills to lead the library team.

The school has developed modern, relevant library services which form part of our Information Services. Library services are forward looking, focusing on reading for pleasure and developing information literacy for an information society. The libraries have exciting and relevant development opportunities to explore and deliver to support our pupils' development in an information society.

Forest School Head-Librarian-JD-and-PS-May-2019

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Judith Kerr news

The world of children’s books is a sadder place today as a legend dies. Many authors, librarians, teachers and organisations are remembering this wonderful lady as most of us have a lot to thank her for.

Guardian article



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Hay-on-Wye Festival 2019

Hay Festival opens today with schools events to start before the open programme for all. It may be too late for your school to attend, but there may be chance to livestream some exciting authors.

There are resources and lesson plans available during and after the festival events, including the 200+ Hay Levels in science, humanities and social sciences on YouTube suitable for 16 – 25 year olds.

Hay is just too good to miss, one way or another.

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Elmer Day 2019

Elmer Day is this Saturday 25th May 2019, with hundreds of events happening in schools, bookshops and libraries across the country, turning the whole nation patchwork.

Resources are available here for download.


As it will be Elmer’s 30th birthday, on Books are my Bag day – celebrating high street bookshops, a special children’s bag designed by David McKee will be available.

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Into Film Award competition

Into Film Award competition now open to children and young people aged 5 – 19.

Whether you use a camera, a tablet or a mobile phone, every valid submission to the Into Film Awards will go into a prize draw to win £1,000 worth of filmmaking equipment for the filmmakers, film club or classroom!

 The website has useful downloads to help, along with details of other creative categories to become involved.

Entries are open until 6 December 2019.

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Breaking New Ground

North East SLA Branch invites everyone to Seven Stories National Centre for Children’s Books Newcastle - Thursday 23rd May 4.30pm-6.30pm

Speakers include Nadia Shireen, author-illustrator of Billy and the Beast; Michael de Souza, creator of Rastamouse; Na’ima B. Robert, author of She Wore Red Shoes; and Karl Nova, poet and author of Rhythm and Poetry , winner of the CliPPA 2018.

More details on the branch page

Breaking New Ground

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Information Book Award: Shortlist Announced

We are incredibly excited to announce the titles that create the shortlist for the information Book Award 2019. 

Those titles are: 

Up to 7  

  • Dogs in Space, Vix Southgate and Iris Deppe

             Wren & Rook                   978 1 5263 6057 1

  • Hello, Horse, Vivian French and Catherine Rayner

              Walker                           978 1 4063 4994 8

  • The Usborne Book of Night Time, Laura Cowan and Bonnie Pang

                Usborne                         978 1 4749 3660 6

7 to 12

  • The Atlas of Heroes, Sandra Lawrence and Stuart Hill

                Big Picture Press                978 1 78741 260 6

  • Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles, Patricia Valdez and Felicita Sala

                 Andersen                           978 1 78344 741 1

  • Mary and Frankenstein, Linda Bailey and Júlia Sardà

                   Andersen                          978 1 78344 679 7

  • When the Whales Walked, Dougal Dixon and Hannah Bailey

                Words & Pictures                978 1 912413 95 9

12 to 16

  • Politics for Beginners, Alex Frith, Rosie Hore, Louie Stowell and Kellan Stover

                   Usborne                                978 1 4749 2252 4 

  • The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, Peter Frankopan and Neil Packer

                    Bloomsbury                          978 1 4088 8993 0

  • Suffragette: The Battle for Equality, David Roberts

                   Two Hoots                             978 1 5098 3967 4


You can access the lesson activities and Voting for the Children's Choice Award here: https://www.sla.org.uk/information-book-award-2019.php

More Details...

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Reading and football

If your students are down after the FA cup final tomorrow, remind them that the Women's World Cup takes place between 7 June and 7 July 2019. During the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019, the National Literacy Trust will be publishing a ‘live’ story written by author Tom Palmer.

There will be three chapters published on the NLT’s website each week during the tournament, following events on and off the pitch. The story can be read in class or at home and is aimed at children aged 8 to 14.

The first chapter will be published on 20 May in the lead-up to the tournament.

Sign up here.


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Klaus Flugge Prize 2019 shortlist revealed

An all-female shortlist of six books makes up this year’s contenders for the Klaus Flugge Prize for most exciting newcomer to children’s picture book illustration.

This is a representation of illustrators around the world, although a dominance for the Cambridge School of Art’s MA in Children’s Book Illustration.

KFKlaus Flugge Prize 0



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IBW Book Award 2019

The Independent Book Award shortlist has been released. A great shopping list for school libraries, including many from the adult list for older children. Winners will be announced on 14th June, just before Independent Bookshop week (15th – 22nd June). Many of the shortlisted authors will be visiting independent bookshops around the country, so check your local shop news.

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Mental Health and Wellbeing in a school library setting

In #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek find out how you can help students in your school library. Places still available on our Wirral course - Mental Health and Wellbeing in a school library setting



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Chat, Play and Read

The Department for Education has announced it will launch a new campaign to support parents to incorporate ways to ‘chat, play and read’ with their children into their daily routines. The announcement follows new research which found that almost a third of children (31%) do not read books with someone at home each day. The campaign will highlight the concept that it is never too early to help develop children’s communication, language and literacy skills and will also provide practical advice on how to fit quality interactions into parent’s daily routines.

The DfE has released a new, free follow-along video starring journalist and co-founder of Mum&You, Natasha Kaplinsky and media psychologist Emma Kenny, as a useful tool which guides parents on how they can Chat, Play and Read with their child. The film shows that interacting with their children can be a fun and happy time for both parent and child.

NLT has launched a website, Small Talk, which is designed to help parents develop the skills and confidence they need to boost their child’s language skills at home. It features simple activity suggestions, advice and videos to help parents chat, play and read with their child whenever and wherever they are. So well worth sending out to parents of all primary age children.

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Why school libraries are important

Sally Dring from Ripon Grammar School has been a valued SLA board member for nine years and her school library is thriving (not necessarily a consequence, but who knows?). Sally points out in the school newsletter why the school library is needed more than ever. 

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Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

Thank you to Anne Harding who has posted a link to her blog from a few months ago in which she lists helpful organisations, reports, articles etc, inc stuff on how books and reading can support children's and young people's wellbeing.

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Graphic Lives: Telling Bangladeshi migrant women’s stories through graphic narratives

Last year, a project called 'Graphic Lives' involved a group of British Bangladeshi women telling their migration stories by creating comics.

There are some sets of the finished comics left with lots of potential for using them in a school library. There were 9 comics altogether and you can view them online

There is not a huge amount of text and the language is fairly simple, so the comics would work for students with a range of abilities - perhaps as a discussion resource or teaching pack, or simply to loan or give away to students. Through the project, we wanted to focus attention on women's migration stories (which are often overlooked) and to encourage discussion around a variety of issues, such as migration, belonging and culture.

If you would like a free set of the printed comics to use in your library, please email s.mcnicol[at]mmu.ac.uk for a set to be posted out to you.

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Hay Festival 2019

There are still tickets left for many children’s (and adults’) events at the Hay Festival over half term. As Simon Armitage has just been announced as the new Poet Laureate, a couple of new events have been added which you/your students may be interested in. Plus Hay is always a great day out. Programme here.

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Turning children into bookworms

By the Children’s Laureates of the last 20 years, here are one or two suggestions which switched them onto reading.

(With a vote for librarians from our amazing President @chrisriddell50)


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CKG Shadowing competitions reminder

There is still time to enter the CKG competitions as your groups finish reading the novels they’ve not had the time to get through.

Plus, have you thought about organising a party for the announcement? Perhaps invite other local schools? Book your library for noon on Tuesday 18th June 2019 when the winner will be announced at a British Library ceremony 



CKG RGB Portrait

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BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award

Jan Pienkowski, the award-winning Polish-born author and illustrator, famous for his iconic Meg and Mog books as well as many pop-ups, has been awarded the 2019 BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award.

The BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates the body of work of an author or illustrator who has made an outstanding contribution to children's literature. The award has been running since 2015 to recognise an author or illustrator's lifetime of work. Previous winners include Shirley Hughes, Judith Kerr, Raymond Briggs, Helen Oxenbury and the late John Burningham, who were awarded the first ever double prize in 2018. 

Jan Pie?"kowski, aged 82, was born in Poland in 1936 and spent his early years there as well as Bavaria, Vienna and Italy before arriving in England at 10 years old. 

Jan was an innovator in book illustration, particularly for his signature silhouette cut-out illustrations and his pop-ups.



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Teaching Skills for School Library Staff: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, 5 June 2019

Our course Teaching Skills for School Library Staff, run by Chris Powis, will be held at Library Services for Education, Clyde Crescent, Whaddon, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL52 5QH on 5 June 2019. The closing date is 21 May 2019. Bookings received by 13 May 2019 are eligible for a discount.

Key Audience:

KS2 and secondary school librarians / library staff - experienced and new to teaching and learning skills

More Details...

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Reading Promotion Toolkit with Accelerated Reader: Sutton, Surrey, 19 June 2019

Our course Reading Promotion Toolkit with Accelerated Reader, run by Bev Humphrey, will be held at Heath Educational Books, Willow House, Willow Walk, Off Whittaker Road, Sutton, Surrey SM3 9QQ on 19 June 2019. The closing date is 10 June 2019. Bookings received by 3 June 2019 are eligible for a discount.

Key Audience:

primary and secondary school staff

More Details...

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Promoting Reading in the Digital Age: Ely, Cambridgeshire, 23 May 2019

Our course Promoting Reading in the Digital Age, run by Bev Humphrey, will be held at Ely College, Downham Road, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB6 2SH on 23 May 2019. The closing date is 8 May 2019. Bookings received by 25 April 2019 are eligible for a discount.

Key Audience:

primary and secondary school library staff

More Details...

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Picture and Comic Books for All: Sutton, Surrey, 11 June 2019

Our course Picture and Comic Books for All, run by Bev Humphrey, will be held at Heath Educational Books, Willow House, Willow Walk, Off Whittaker Road, Sutton, Surrey SM3 9QQ on 11 June 2019. The closing date is 25 May 2019. Bookings received by 14 May 2019 are eligible for a discount.

Key Audience:

primary and secondary school staff

More Details...

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Mental Health and Wellbeing in a School Library Setting: Wirral, Merseyside, 11 June 2019

Our course Mental Health and Wellbeing in a School Library Setting, run by Self Esteem Team , will be held at Wirral Grammar School for Girls, Heath Road, Bebington, Wirral, Merseyside CH63 3AF on 11 June 2019. The closing date is 24 May 2019. Bookings received by 14 May 2019 are eligible for a discount.

Key Audience:

primary and secondary school staff

More Details...

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Join Yorkshire & Humberside branch for afternoon tea

School Library Association Yorkshire & Humberside would love you to join us for afternoon tea and our AGM

on Saturday 1st June 2019, 1.30-4.30pm at The Loft, Miller’s Yard, York, YO31 7EB (http://www.millersyard.co.uk/

There are also positions on the Branch committee open! 


Word document, 108 kB

Requires Microsoft Word 97 or later



Yorkshire branch invite you to tea
Yorkshire branch invite you to tea













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Raintree match funding for schools

Raintree Publishers are running a very generous match funding scheme at the moment but you need to apply soon, the offer runs our in 5 days. Although your application must be submitted before the 13th May you can place orders up until the 31st July. The offer is open to all Nursery, Primary and Secondary schools in the UK.

More details can be found on the Raintree website here.

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Shortlist for The Alligator’s Mouth Award revealed

Five books have been shortlisted for the first year of The Alligator’s Mouth Award, the new children’s book prize celebrating the best titles for readers aged six to eight. Selected by a panel of children’s book experts, including renowned illustrator Axel Scheffler and children’s poet Joseph Coelho, the shortlist showcases the best writers and illustrators of highly-illustrated fiction in the UK.

The full shortlist for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2019:

·       Dave Pigeon (Racer!) written by Swapna Haddow and illustrated by Sheena Dempsey (Faber & Faber)

·       Lyttle Lies: The Stinky Truth written and illustrated by Joe Berger (Simon & Schuster)

·       Nice Work for the Cat and the King written and illustrated by Nick Sharratt (Alison Green Books, Scholastic Children’s Books)

·       Rabbit and Bear: Attack of the Snack written by Julian Gough and illustrated by Jim Field (Hodder Children’s Books, Hachette)

·       The Legend of Kevin written by Philip Reeve and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre (Oxford University Press)

 The Alligator’s Mouth independent bookshop teamed up with The Bright Agency to create the new children’s book prize, to champion both authors and illustrators of illustrated early fiction.  Axel Scheffler will be announcing the winner at a ceremony in London on Thursday 13th June.  Keep up to date with the awards on Twitter by following #AlligatorsAward 


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Teaching Skills for School Library Staff: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, 5 June 2019


Our course Teaching Skills for School Library Staff, run by Chris Powis, will be held at Library Services for Education, Clyde Crescent, Whaddon, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire on 5 June 2019. The closing date is 21 May 2019. Bookings received by 13 May 2019 are eligible for a £15 discount.

This course will look firstly at the nature of teaching and learning before considering each step of the process – planning, delivering, assessing and receiving feedback.  Delegates will be involved with stimulating discussions and there will be the opportunity to share experiences so if you are working with young people, students, small groups of library users or staff this course will help you develop your skills as a teacher and trainer.

Run many times in the past, testimonials include Fantastic course from an inspiring and practical trainer’ and ‘Chris is an excellent teacher - supportive and thought-provoking.’


Key Audience: KS2 and secondary school librarians / library staff - experienced and new to teaching and learning skills

More Details...

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CILIP magazine to promote diversity and inclusion in children’s publishing

Pen&inc. is a brand-new industry magazine and listings guide to diverse and inclusive children’s books launched by CILIP, the library and information association. 

With a mission to improve young readers’ choice and access to diverse and inclusive books, Pen&inc. provides a listings guide for diverse, inclusive and representative books with over 450 titles submitted for the Spring/Summer edition.

Writer and broadcaster Konnie Huq joined CILIP to launch Pen&inc. alongside publishing industry guests on the evening of Thursday 2nd May at CLPE’s Literacy Library, in Lambeth.

Konnie said:

“Growing up as a minority, despite being a voracious reader, it sometimes felt like books often didn’t quite cater for me and so they weren’t always relatable. And I don’t just mean from an ethnicity point of view but also how you feel as child – anything that can mark you out – whether disability, religion, culture, or even stuff like being a bit geeky. Pen&inc. is such an important publication because young people are our future and without diverse stories and characters being published and celebrated we prevent progression for change towards a more inclusive and empathetic world.”

Pen&inc. also features an in-depth look at how a new generation of publishers are learning about and looking at diversity. It’s up to librarians, booksellers and publishers to put great stories, wonderful characters and strong voices in front of children.

An amazing piece of artwork from illustrator Yu Rong, the winner of the Quentin Blake Award for Narrative Illustration, adorns the front cover of the first issue of the magazine. And Pen&inc. will be looking for more new talent to feature on each cover of future issues.


·         Pen&inc. is a bi-annual publication, with Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter issues published in April and September

·         Pen&inc. will be distributed to 1,500+ bookshops across the UK; to more than 150 library services and library service managers; and around 10,000 individual librarians and library organisations

·         Pen&inc offers free listing space to promote diverse and inclusive books, authors and illustrators –the first issue features more than 450 titles from 35 publishers

·         Pen&inc. will also be available to view online

CILIP launches magazine to promote diversity and inclusion

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Very Hungry Caterpillar 50th Anniversary

On the evening of Monday 6 th May, which is Very Hungry Caterpillar Day, London came alive with the iconic artwork of Eric Carle. The stunning light-projections included Eric Carle’s iconic caterpillar and butterfly accompanied by life-affirming messages to celebrate the spirit of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which in Eric Carle’s own words, is at its heart “a story of hope”.

“It [The Very Hungry Caterpillar] is an affirmation to all children. It says: I too can grow up. I too can unfold my wings and fly into the world. I think it’s this message of hope.” Eric Carle

2019 marks the 50 th Anniversary of this childhood classic. In 2018 The Very Hungry Caterpillar was voted the Best Children’s Book of All Time and a copy of the book is sold every 15 seconds somewhere in the world.

You can see some images from the night here

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On Tuesday 28th May 2019, 7-8pm there will be a Twitter debate on gender equality in children’s books. Led by the Gender Equality Charter this group believes that solving the problem of gender imbalance is only going to happen through collaboration, discussion and debate. They have created a Community of Change, which is open to everyone who believes in ending gender stereotypes and achieving gender equality.

Some definitions on the GEC site may help to clarify commonly confused concepts.

Follow @gendercharter for the debate in which school libraries should be an important part.

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The Awesome Book Awards 2019

Tamsin Winter has won the Awesome Book Awards 2019 for her first children’s novel Being Miss Nobody.

"Reading is the best thing you can do for your brain but also your heart. It increases your empathy and caring and getting young people reading will really make a difference to their lives," said Tamsin. She was presented with her prize and trophy by the winner of last year’s Awesome Book Award, Peter Bunzl.

The Awesome Book Awards is a prize that celebrates the best new fiction authors for young readers aged between 7 and 10 and is an annual event run by Cranleigh School and Cranleigh Prep School.

Cranleigh Pupil, Amelie Lewis, who voted for the winner and introduced Tamsin on stage, said: "Being Miss Nobody is a brave and topical book for our generation. It’s book we can all learn from and one that stays with you after you have finished reading it. I loved it!"

The other titles shortlisted for the 2019 Awards were: Running on the Roof of the World, by Jess Butterworth; The Starman and Me, by Sharon Cohen; Brightstorm, by Vashti Hardy; and The Ice Garden, by Guy Jones. Thousands of pupils from schools across London and the South East read the whole shortlist and then voted for their favourite overall.

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LADY ELEANOR HOLLES SCHOOL (GSA and HMC) (900 girls aged 7-18)

JUNIOR SCHOOL (GSA and IAPS) (192 girls aged 7-11 years)

Head of Library Services

We have an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic, well-qualified and committed Head of Library Services to join our friendly, diverse and academically successful community at Lady Eleanor Holles School from September 2019.

Here at LEH we are firm believers that our Learning Resource Centre (LRC), Sixth Form Library and Junior School Library are at the heart of the school, and therefore require a Head of Library Services who will be integral in supporting and fostering a love of learning through academic and extra-curricular activities.

The successful candidate will be able to develop a vision and implement a strategy for the three libraries which reflects the educational philosophy of the school. In additionally, they will contribute to curriculum and personal development by liaising with all departments, as well as with individual members of the teaching staff, to support pupils with study and life skills.

LEH is a thriving school, situated on the outskirts of London, on a 24-acre site with excellent facilities. It is a great place to work, with a positive atmosphere, supportive colleagues, well-behaved students and bespoke CPD.

The school has its own attractive pay and benefits structure. Some of our most popular benefits are listed below:

  • Teachers' Pension Scheme for teaching staff and membership of LEH Group Pension Scheme (with life assurance) for non-teaching staff
  • Free lunches, tea and coffee
  • Generous occupational sick pay scheme
  • 'Care First' Employee Assistance Programme
  • Occupational Health Service
  • Learning and development opportunities, including financial support for postgraduate study
  • Christmas closure
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Free car parking on site
  • Library facilities open to all
  • Use of 25-metre swimming pool at specified times
  • Staff receive free or reduced price tickets to attend the excellent school drama and music productions
  • School fee reductions for LEH; the school also has an arrangement for fee reduction at Hampton Boys' School
  • The school offers a rent or mortgage allowance subsidy for new permanent teaching/non-teaching staff who are at the start of their careers or relocate to the area in order to take up the post

An application pack is available from the school’s website by clicking here. Applications must be made on the school’s own form, together with a covering letter or supporting statement, and should be sent to personnel[at]lehs.org.uk.

The closing date is noon on Thursday, 16th May 2019.

CVs will not be considered and should not be submitted.

The Lady Eleanor Holles School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.  All applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening, including checks with past employers and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Hanworth Road, Hampton, Middlesex TW12 3HF Tel: 020 8979 1601 pahm[at]lehs.org.uk   www.lehs.org.uk

Registered charity no. 1130254

More Details...

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SLA Sponsored places to the weekend course

The SLA sponsored places to the SLA/YLG Weekend Course have gone to Odontuya Adiyadorj and Soraya Berry - congratulations! 

Thank you to everyone who sent in an application - we are hoping to do this again next year, so do try again. 

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CE Blog 2019_5: Working towards something better

It’s May and CE Blog number five already – where is this year going?! I think the speed at which it’s passing is an indication of how much is going on at the SLA, some of which is exciting, and some of which is required (paperwork!), but all of which is positive as it’s moving us forwards.

Yesterday I was at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education as they hosted CILIP (the library and information association)’s event ‘Building a Nation of Readers’, which was primarily focused on the issues surrounding diversity and representation across the industry. I was pleased to be there representing school libraries – as the discussion proved they are genuinely a central piece in moving the situation forward. The ability to guide children to books that they see themselves reflected in (in a positive way!) and the ability to ensure that they encounter role models within industries so they can picture themselves doing that job – whether as an author; publicist; graphic designer or something else entirely.

I was reminded of the difficulty I had in sourcing books which showed young children in books in positive ways – not just always being the bullied one, or involved in gangs or the one in care. Books that tell positive stories about children of different classes, races, abilities and that show them there is a positive future waiting for them.

I had an interesting discussion about othering[1] and the difficulty of displays. As guides we want to highlight books that deserve attention, and ensure that pupils know of their existence, but it was raised that doing an ‘LGBTQ’ or ‘Diversity’ display is really pointing out the difference, rather than celebrating them as being part of the norm. I completely understand the point, and do agree, but it is complicated – as school staff I wanted to provide role models for all the pupils, and in order to do this we have to highlight those authors… however, it’s made me reconsider whether a purposed display is the right way of going about it – it may be that a mixed purpose display with those diverse voices is actually more poignant. Or have those books on display but without any labels.

While being in this role I have had more than one conversation with someone who feels, for whatever reason, that the job/conference/sector wasn’t inclusive, and wasn’t ‘for them’. We need to do all we can to change this – it’s on those of us who are already working in the space to make it more welcoming. Some of that is big change, such as the economics and making sure jobs are paid at a reasonable rate, part of that is medium change – such as bearing in mind when discussing the ‘need’ for qualifications that the education system is weighted against certain groups, and some of it is personal – keeping an eye on the authors we bring into schools and making sure they come from a range of backgrounds. Even with restricted budgets we need to be searching for the diverse books, because it’s not just about the books – it’s about society. It’s about empathy and perspective and understanding – it’s about making sure that every child can see a future that has choices in it, a chance for them to be different, live differently to their family should they choose to.

The school library sector has an important role to play, in setting children’s expectations, and in contributing to change within the publishing sector. Bearing in mind that reports to Prevent regarding far right sentiments are on the increase (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46556447) we need to be having these discussions, making diverse material available and not shying away from getting involved.

At times yesterday the discussion was uncomfortable, anger and bitterness were laid out for everyone to see, but it is important that these discussions are happening because it’s only by listening to people’s experiences that we can start to understand the challenges and how we need to change. We need to learn how to be better, and do better and we need to choose who to learn from carefully. We can’t expect people to simply take our word that things are changing – they need to be invited in, to see it for themselves. We can't expect people to be grateful things are changing – it’s where they belong, opportunities they deserve, and prospects they have earnt.

At the SLA we are aware of these issues, and are looking at things we can put in place so we are an association for everyone. Things take time, and we may make mistakes along the way, but we are listening, learning and doing what we can to put the pressure on to activate change.

It’s a bank holiday so I’m going to end with 5 things to help create change based on the discussion we had yesterday:

1) Re-think displays – you may still feel that LGBTQ month deserves a big display – just make sure those voices are included in other displays too.

2) If you have to buy books at huge discounts it does impact what the author gets paid – maybe do this strategically, and choose carefully who’s book you buy at full price, and who you ask for freebies (remembering that the industry as a whole suffers from an economic problem as this article shows: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jan/17/writers-earn-less-than-600-a-year).

3) Make sure speakers that are invited into school show the breadth of who exists in the world – as someone said yesterday they are all just stories, and most people will find something human to connect to.

4) Notice what is being taught – are there women, people of colour, different classes and abilities being taught on your curriculum? Is the homework that is being set focused one way or the other? Have you got resources on offer to balance the narrative? Could you discuss this with the teacher/curriculum leader/child?   

5) Maintain your book knowledge with a specific focus on diversity and inclusion – recognise when a book only has white, able bodied characters in it. It doesn’t make it any better or not, but recognising it is important (this is also really interesting to do with adverts). For every book like that read one that represents a range of people. Letterbox library (https://www.letterboxlibrary.com/) is great for this, and of course, our own journal The School Librarian has significant numbers of book reviews.  

Enjoy the bank holiday!


[1] Other (verb) - View or treat (a person or group of people) as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/other

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FXP Festival 2019 for STEM

FXP Festival is a free education initiative for schools and colleges in East Anglia taking place over 6 - 8th July 2019. If you would like to interest your students, or can offer help yourself, please do read these further details and get in touch with the organisers. 

FXP Bulletin

PDF file, 209 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)

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BBC Radio 4 Today Programme Student Journalism Awards.

Entries open today for the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme Student Journalism Awards and can be made online

Nominations to be received by 31st August 2019, and are open to UK students (including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) in full or part time education during the academic year 2018-2019.

Categories include Journalist, Broadcaster, Critic and Photo Journalist among others.

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Oxford Story Museum activities

Oxford Story Museum has plenty to occupy young minds in the school holidays.

Why not spread the word to your parents:

Sunday 26 May          Story Safari: Oxford Festival of Nature

A story safari around the world in a fun immersive storytelling session for families.

Sat 6th July      Alice’s Day

Celebrates Alice and the much loved Wonderland stories.

Summer Story Walks.

Each walk lasts an hour, is full of puzzles, games and lots of joining in.

29 July - 9 August     Viking Myths

Explore the world of Viking Mythology through comic book making, storytelling and prop making.

5 - 9 August    The Jungle Book

Explores The Jungle Book through hiphop, breakdance & graffiti with Baby People, the UK's first ever hip hop school.

More details and booking here

Story Museum

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Win 1 of 5 signed copies of Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day

Publication day promotion! Today sees the launch of Starfell - a spellbinding new middle-grade fantasy series that the publishers are hoping will be a must-read this summer. Meet Willow Moss, a young misfit witch who holds the fate of the magical world of Starfell in her rather unremarkable hands . . . 

‘A spellbinding début set in an irresistible magical world.’ - Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

Starfell is the perfect read for 8 – 12-year olds and fans of Cressida Cowell, packaged in a covetable hardback. 

Willow Moss, the youngest and least powerful sister in a family of witches, has a magical ability for finding lost things – like keys, or socks, or wooden teeth. Her magic might be useful, but it’s not exactly exciting . . . Until, that is, the most powerful witch in the whole of Starfell turns up at her door needing Willow’s help.

A whole day – last Tuesday to be precise – has gone missing. And the repercussions could be devastating. Can Willow find the day to save the day?

“Writing Starfell has been a real labour of love over the past seven years and joining the incredible HarperCollins list is a dream come true. I was bowled over by the team’s passion, vision, and warmth, and I’m so excited to start our journey together and to share this and future stories with readers.” - Dominique Valente 


Born in South Africa, Dominique Valente now lives in Felixstowe, Suffolk with her husband and their English Bulldog, Fudge. She writes bestselling women’s fiction under her pseudonym, Lily Graham, and is a former journalist for publications like Business Day and Woman & Home.   

Connect with Dominique on twitter @domrosevalente

HarperCollins Children’s Books have 5 signed copies of STARFELL: Willow Moss and the Lost Day to give away. For your chance to win one just email your name and full address to laurasmythecontact@gmail.com  using the subject line The School Librarian Starfell

The winners will be chosen at random after the closing date of 31 May 2019

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Job Vacancies, Warwick School, Head Librarian: Full-time, Warwick School, Head Librarian

Warwick School
Head Librarian

An experienced, enthusiastic and energetic Head Librarian is required from the start of September 2019 (or sooner) to work in the school's purpose-built library.

This a full-time position although there may be some flexibility around the amount of work required in the school holidays.

For further details and an application form, please visit www.warwickschool.org

Closing date: 14th May 2019

It is anticipated that interviews will take place on 17th May 2019.

This school is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

More Details...

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Cosmic Creativity Illustration Competition

Design Your Own Book Cover.

Entries opens on May 1, 2019 and closes June 30, 2019 and is for ages 8-12.

Download an entry form

Open to residents of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States who are enrolled as full-time students in a public, private institutional school, or home school ages 8 to 12.

Cosmic Creativity Press Release

PDF file, 376 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


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Designing School Libraries

April's Development and Discussion blog is written by David Lindley. David is Executive Director of Designing Libraries, a Community Interest Company, and a columnist for CILIP’s magazine, Information Professional


Libraries today are about lots of things – books and reading to be sure, but also about developing learning skills, access to digital resources, supporting individual and collaborative learning styles, and just being the go-to place to meet or relax.

Design plays an important and sometimes under-valued role in creating a space that will enhance student learning and wellbeing – not simply a room with books, tables and computers, perhaps also used for other functions, but a space students can call their own and want to spend time in. The buzz words around good design principles today are ‘design thinking’ and ‘student centred design’ – both taking the user as the starting point from which to create the right environment for reading and learning. The approach can take many forms, including behavioural observation, interviews and discussions, and student ownership of what they want from the library and the activities that take place in it.

Read more here: 

DandD_2019_6_Designing Libraries

PDF file, 233 kB

Requires Adobe Reader

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2019 Branford Boase Award shortlist

The shortlist for the 2019 Branford Boase Award has been announced today Wednesday 1st May.  As ever the shortlist features highly accomplished debut novels for children by authors with exciting voices and new stories to tell.


Branford Boase Award Shortlist Photo 2019


Branford Boase Award shortlist judges comments 2019

PDF file, 333 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


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