In which classic children’s book do you really belong?

idealbookshelf488_kids_60695162-0cf7-4098-96eb-0f9de1bc4cb2_1024x1024

It’s Children’s Book Week! Find out which classic children’s book character you’re really, most like.

Continue reading “In which classic children’s book do you really belong?”

Whizz through the Wonderful World of Children’s Literature

IMAG1102Children’s Book Week may be coming to a close but there’s always time to dive into the world of children’s literature. Here at The Reader Organisation, we think that you’re never too old to enjoy a classic piece of children’s literature, and with titles including The Hunger Games trilogy and The Fault in our Stars breaking out of the young adult section into the bestsellers charts overall, age really is no barrier to finding a good book to get stuck into.

The world of literature aimed at children is an ever burgeoning one, with e-readers and the ability to download reading apps onto mobile phones and tablets meaning that young people have more opportunity to read however and wherever they want. However the latest figures from Publisher’s Weekly (February 2014) show that the majority of teenagers generally prefer to read in the classic print format, which is great news for book sales and libraries. In the US, young adult and picture books make up the two bestselling categories for 2013 – demonstrating the wide appeal and range of books coming under the category of children’s literature – and in fact the group that bought the most young adult titles were 18-29 year olds, with data showing that even as book buyers get older they still buy young adult titles for themselves to read as opposed to giving them as gifts for children or grandchildren.

Did you know…that a fifth of the £2.2billion spent on books each year in the UK is spent on children’s books, and around 10,000 new titles aimed at children are published in the UK every year?

Though unsurprisingly the Harry Potter series are thought to be the biggest selling children’s books of all time, the figures are hard to pin down – by 2011, 450 million copies had been sold worldwide but hundreds of other copies sell by the second – the official numbers put The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien at the top of the pile, with 100 million copies sold. The classic tale of Bilbo Baggins’ quest for a share of treasure guarded by a dragon has enchanted kids and adults alike, and was awarded the prize of ‘Best Juvenile Fiction’ by the New York Herald Tribune. The next two most popular on the list are The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, which shows the enduring power of classic books.

Some more fascinating facts about children’s literature…

  • The Mr Men books – a staple of childhood reading for many people – came to life when the son of author Roger Hargreaves asked him what a tickle looked like. Mr Tickle was the first book to be written, with another 48 titles following. The series has been translated into Mandarin, French, Spanish and Dutch amongst other languages.

  • Dr Seuss originally planned to spend a week or so writing The Cat in the Hat – it actually took a year and a half to complete.

  • Amongst the titles that have been banned in parts of America are Winnie the Pooh, Where The Wild Things Are and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the latter of which was said to portray a ‘poor philosophy of life’ to young people.

Michael_and_Lewis_reading_onlineIf you’d like to discover more about the world of children’s literature with expert knowledge from TRO, why not come along to our latest Short Course for Serious Readers which will take you on a Whizz-tour on the wonders that are to be found. Join us on Saturday 12th July at Calderstones Mansion House where we can point you in the direction of some of the best books to read with children just for the fun of it, ranging from brand new treasures to old favourites to rediscover.

Places on the course cost £30/£15 concessions, and we can offer a special 10% discount if you bring a friend who is new to our Short Courses. It’s the perfect way to get ready for The Secret Garden of Stories, our first Children’s Literature Festival this coming August.

To book your place, contact Literary Learning Coordinator Jenny Kelly on jenniferkelly@thereader.org.uk or call 0151 207 7207, or see our website for more information: http://www.thereader.org.uk/courses

Children’s Book Week: The Reader Organisation recommends

We’re in the middle of Children’s Book Week 2014, an annual celebration of reading for pleasure that has been running for over 80 years. Children’s Book Week is all about encouraging children to find the fun in reading, stimulating them to discover new books and extend their reading choices, share and discuss books with their friends and find new, exciting ways to enjoy literature.

All of the groups we run throughout the UK for children and young people are focused entirely upon reading for pleasure, and our Project Workers read a wide variety of books and stories with our young readers of all ages with a list that is growing by the week. For more information about our work with young people and in education settings, see our website: http://www.thereader.org.uk/what-we-do-and-why/education-young-people

To celebrate Children’s Book Week this week, we’ve asked some of our Project Workers who work with children and young people to recommend some of their favourite reads. For a bunch that read so much, it was a tough choice but we managed to narrow it down…

For younger children:

The-Dinosaur-That-Pooped-a-Planet-844x1024The Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet – Tom Fletcher, Dougie Poynter and Garry Parsons
A younger kids read but one that everybody can enjoy. It’s especially great for reading with boys, as Danny and Dino’s tale of space, poop and planets is laugh-out-loud ridiculous, with great rhymes and alliteration, and who doesn’t like a bit of space-themed silliness?

What The Ladybird Heard – Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks
A perfect choice to read aloud with all of its various animal sounds, with a good dose of silly slapstick that is sure to amuse adults reading along with little ones. Especially popular at one of our recent Half Term Hijinks sessions.

Green Eggs and HamDr.Seuss
A great story to read aloud with little ones and adults able to enjoy the humour within. A brilliant choice to open up the door to other read aloud stories – and Dr. Seuss books – and delve into more!

The Meg & Mog series of books – Helen Nichol and Jan Pienkowski
Timeless classics guaranteed to raise a smile, as well as including some lessons always worth learning.

Two classics that can be enjoyed by a wide age range are The Witches by Roald Dahl and The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, which have been read in our bilingual children’s groups in North Wales. In particular, our young readers loved the suggestion that their teachers might be witches, and could relate to the language barriers between Mary and the Mufela. Pullman is a master of description and his creatures can be imagined perfectly.

Enid Blyton is another classic author that is always worth revisiting or exploring for the first time, particularly The Magic Faraway Tree and The Famous Five series.

Short story collections are always good options to engage children who don’t read regularly, and along with our very own read-aloud anthology A Little, Aloud for Children which is chock full of extracts to inspire and fuel the imagination, another option that has gone down well in our groups is Unbelievable by Australian author Paul Jennings. A story that is especially popular is one called ‘One Shot Toothpaste’.

For older children and young people:

tumblr_ldujw4BkYh1qe9etiSkellig – David Almond
A beautiful story dealing with sensitive issues but told with humour and warmth.

Wonder – RJ Palacio
The story of August Pullman, a 12-year old boy with facial deformities, but one that deals with the universal themes of growing up and finding your place in the world.

Horowitz Horror – Anthony Horowitz
Brilliantly gruesome short stories which are great for bookworms and book haters alike. Suitable for teenagers due to some of the more stomach-lurching content, these stories always leave you wanting more.

Don’t forget that you can also find lots more great recommendations to keep kids reading in our Recommended Reads for Children feature right here on The Reader Online.

There’s also many more titles and lists on the City of Readers blog, inspiring children and young people across Liverpool to become readers. Looking for books to read with babies, for boys or even ones to read before a certain age? Then there’s no other place to be: http://www.cityofreaders.org/