Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Costa Book of the Year Award Goes to...FRANCES HARDINGE!

Earlier this month, it was announced that Frances Hardinge had won the Costa Childrens Book of the Year. This out her in line for the possibility of winning the overall Costa Book of the Year Award.
It was announced today, 26 January that Hardinges' amazing novel, The Lie Tree had beat out all the others to become the Costa Book of the Year! This makes Frances the second childrens' book author ever to win this prestigious award, (The first was Philip Pullman in 2002 for The Amber Spyglass; part of the His Dark Materials series.)
The Lie Tree tells the story of Faith Sunderly, whose family has moved to a small, dismal island for
her fathers' research...and, unbeknownst to Faith, to escape a scandal about to be revealed that would disgrace her father and the entire family. When Faiths' father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, Faith embarks on a journey to uncover the truth. Part murder mystery, part Victorian horror, part historical fiction, The Lie Tree weaves a riveting tale that is spell-binding and compelling to any reader, regardless of age. Utterly mesmerising!
I have been a fan of Frances Hardinge from her first book, Fly By Night. Her memorable characterisation, scene depiction and intriguing plot lines are always outstanding, making everything she has written a pure joy and firm favourite. Frances writes with a genuine love of language and it's usage that is unparalleled.
Congratulations, Frances Hardinge. You keep going from strength to strength.
(p.s. I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Newbery, Caldecott and Printz Awards 2016

On the 11th of January 2016, the Association for Library Service to Children (an arm of the American Library Association) announced the winners of the 2016 Newbery medal, Caldecott medal for illustration and Printz award for YA fiction. It is the most prestigious award in childrens' literature in the US and it is a very big deal to win! These are authors/illustrators that everyone working in childrens' books or with children, in general should pay attention to, for their work is now and always has been the most outstanding, meaningful and marvellous work going.

The winner of the 2016 John Newbery Medal has gone to Matt de la Pena/ illustrations by Christian
Robinson for "Last Stop on Market Street". This is a beautifully expressed picture book , which sees young CJ and his grandmother heading home after church on Sunday. While CJ would rather take a car and revels in modern technology, his grandmother shares the clear and wondrous observations and diversity that can be gained by riding a bus. The rich and vivid illustrations go hand in hand with the text to create a marvelous journey through life, and a unique bond between old and young.

The 2016 Caldecott medal for Illustration went to Sophie Blackall (written by Lindsay Mattick) for the wonderful book, Finding Winnie; the story of the real bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. The expressive, gentle watercolours reflect perfectly time and place and make it one that can be 'read' by the youngest readers. Each page features a true work of art in its' own right.

The Printz Award recognises and annually honours the best book written for teens and is entirely
based on literary merit. This years winner is Laura Ruby for her excellent book, Bone Gap. The story follows Roza, Finn and his brother Sean, and the people of Bone Gap in a heart-rending tale of love and loss, mystery and regret and forgiveness. With magnificent charaterisation and chilling story-telling, it is absolutely brilliant.
Massive congratulations to all the winners! To the readers out there, if you haven't read them, yet, please do! You won't forget any of these books, ever.



Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Frances Hardinge Takes Costa Childrens Book Prize

A HUGE congratulations to one of the best writers working today, Frances Hardinge for scooping the Costa Childrens Book prize 2015. Her intrepid novel, The Lie Tree won out over a very strong short list including, Sally Nicholls (An Island of Our Own), Hayley Long (Sophie Someone)  and Andrew Norris (Jessica's Ghost).
The Lie Tree is based on one unique idea: what if your lies gave you the ability to reveal other peoples' secrets? The gothic-style story of fossils hunters in the Victorian era sees a young girl, uncover her fathers' unearthly discovery of a tree that can exist only in complete darkness and must be fed lies in order to grow. When her father mysteriously dies, it is down to Faith to prove it was murder, not suicide. As the tale winds its' way through secrets upon conspiracy upon impossibilities, Faith reveals a few of her familys' most deeply hidden secrets, a spell is cast upon the reader that shocks and compels. It also begs the question, is absolute truth really the best thing?
Frances Hardinge has been a favourite of mine since her first novel, Fly By Night. With a writing and story-telling style that is simple incredible, each and every book has been a pure joy to read.  Her world-building in incisive, rich and unparalleled. What remains to be seen now? Will Frances Hardinge be the first childrens' author since Philip Pullman in 2001 to take the overall Costa prize on 26 January? With a book that is this mesmerising, thrilling and drawn with insight, I certainly hope so.
p.s. Please read Frances' other books: Fly By Night (2005), Verdigis Deep (2007), Gullstruck Island (2009),  Twilight Robbery (2011 - sequel to Fly By Night), A Face Like Glass (2012), Cuckoo Song (2014) Each one will take you on a journey you will never forget.


Friday, January 1, 2016

Welcome 2016

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and that the New Year treats you well. Thought I'd start off 2016 by giving you a glimpse of some of my favourite childrens' books of 2015. I could go on and on, but I am trying to limit myself. What were your best books of 2015?
Picture Books: (always a difficult choice for me. We all need more picture books in our lives, both young and old readers. Here are some of the ones I really loved!)
The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes
How The Library....by Wendy Meddour
Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer/Oliver Jeffers
The Christmas Eve Tree Delia Huddy/Emily Sutton
Side By Side by Rachel Bright/Debi Gliori
The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty Beatrice Allemagna
Picture Books Plus....
Pierre The Maze Detective...
City Atlas by Martin Haake
Nature's Day by Kay Maguire

For those who are reading (7-12...a wide reading age!)
Maisie Hitchens by Holly Webb
The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone
The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon

An Island of Our Own by Sally Nicholls
Young Sherlock: Night Break by Andrew Lane
Nest by Esther Ehrlich
Behind The Walls by Nicola Pierce

Class Act by Debbie Thomas

The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde...MUST READ!

Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine
House of Windows by Alexia Casale

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman
I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

That'll do ...  I do hope you have the opportunity to read and enjoy these and many, many more! 2016 is promising us so many fantastic books. The glimpse I've had so far is very exciting.
So Happy New Year and Happy New Books to you all.