News – Nominees for IBW awards announced!

Published April 3, 2013 by Krissie West

IBW Book Award 2013 – Adult Shortlist

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Rachel Joyce (Black Swan)
HhHH Laurent Binet (Vintage)
Bring Up The Bodies Hilary Mantel (HarperCollins)
Capital John Lanchester (Faber)
The Etymologicon Mark Forsyth (Icon Books)
Flight Behaviour Barbara Kingsolver (Faber)
The Song of Achilles  Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury)
Walking Home Simon Armitage (Faber)
A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)
Behind the Beautiful Forevers Katherine Boo (Portobello Books)

IBW Book Award 2013 – Children’s Shortlist

Wonder  R J Palacio (Corgi)
The Sacrifice Charlie Higson (Puffin Books)
Gangsta Granny David Walliams (HarperCollins)
White Dolphin Gill Lewis (OUP)
Oh No, George! Chris Haughton (Walker Books)
Dear Scarlett Fleur Hitchcock (Nosy Crow)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever  Jeff Kinney (Puffin Books)
Maggot Moon Sally Gardner (Hot Key Books)
WARP: The Reluctant Assassin Eoin Colfer (Puffin Books)
The Secret Hen House Theatre Helen Peters (Nosy Crow)
Matilda’s Cat Emily Gravett (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Socks Nick Sharratt & Elizabeth Lindsay (David Fickling Books)

NEWS: Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Winner Announced!

Published March 22, 2013 by Krissie West

Annabel Pitcher has won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2013 with her second novel, Ketchup Clouds.

Pitcher was also nominated for last year’s award for her debut book, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.

Ketchup Clouds is the story of a teenage girl who reveals a terrible secret through a series of letters written to a murderer on death row.

Pitcher was the winner of the teenage category in addition to her overall prize, with RJ Palacio’s Wonder named winner of the 5-12s category, and Rebecca Cobb winning the picture book category for her story Lunchtime.

Book review: The Daughter of Time

Published March 21, 2013 by Krissie West

The Daughter of Time
Author: Josephine Tey
Publisher: Random House
Price: £7.99
ISBN: 978 0 099 53682 6

FF rating: 8/10
Reviewer: Krissie

I know it is old news now, but I am still mildly obsessed by the whole king-under-the-car park thing. I mean, it’s pretty amazing, isn’t it? But it has also brought back all the questions surrounding Richard III’s reputation as the most evil English king of history for the alleged murders of his nephews, and various other accusations slung at him by Sir Thomas More and William Shakespeare. And the trouble is, mud sticks all the harder when there is no-one left to defend you.

Make no mistake, Josephine Tey’s lovely The Daughter of Time is fictional, the story of Inspector Alan Grant, one of Scotland Yard’s finest, who on finding himself confined to hospital after an accident finds his utter boredom can be relieved by perusing old pictures to find some personal detective work to undertake. His attention is arrested by the picture of a man whose identity takes him totally by surprise as he had assumed he was a judge rather than a villain.

He then spends the remainder of his time in hospital examining the evidence – and what he has to say is pretty compelling. Why did no contemporaries of Richard III accuse him of the crime? And why, more than anything, did Henry VII – who did most of the mudslinging himself in order to besmirch his dead rival’s memory – never make the most damning accusation of all? Was it because, in fact, the boys were still alive when Henry began systematically murdering the remaining Yorkist claimants to the throne?

You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy this one; it is a fun and compelling detective story in its own right, and despite having read the arguments before, I was still hooked to see what this fictional detective had uncovered. But it certainly makes a case for a revisionist view of Richard III to be given proper consideration at last.

By the same author: A Shilling for Candles
You may also like: The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman

Book review: Witch Crag

Published March 21, 2013 by Krissie West

Witch Crag
Author: Kate Cann
Publisher: Scholastic
Price: £6.99
ISBN: 978-1407107028

FF rating: 8/10
Reviewer: Aimee-Paige
Recommended age: 11-14

I really enjoyed reading this book and I think others would as well, especially if you’re a fan of books like The Hunger Games. The tale is set in the future and is about a girl called Kita who lives in a tribe where the women are forced to marry who they are told. Kita must make a choice: survive in a life she will hate forever, or run away with best friends Quainy and Raff and almost certainly die.

But there is a twist: Kita’s tribe have always been told stories about the murderous witches on Witch Crag. If they’re so dangerous, why is Kita so desperate to find them? Soon Kita will find herself fighting for the very enemy she was trying to escape…

This a great book about friendship, survival, battle and a little magic. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

By the same author: Crow Girl
You might also like: Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Book review: Mary’s Hair

Published March 1, 2013 by Krissie West

Mary’s Hair
Author: Eoin Colfer
Illustrator: Richard Watson
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Price: £5.99
ISBN: 978-1-78112-226-6

FF rating: 7/10
Reviewer: Krissie
Recommended age: 5-8 (reading age 6+)

It’s fantastic that Barrington Stoke has such huge success in luring very well-known authors to write for its series of dyslexia-friendly books. All too often, children reading below the expected level for their age are left with books that are simply too young, or unsuitable, for them, and are excluded from the buzz that a successful author can create in the playground.

With this in mind, I was delighted to see Eoin Colfer join the ranks of writers such as Michael Morpurgo, Julia Donaldson and Anthony McGowan with this story of a poor little girl with such desperately bad hair that she is driven to take matters into her own hands. Having cut off all of her curls, and with her head tilted to one side to make her fringe look straight, Mary looks like a supermodel – in her own mind, at least. That must be why Imelda’s mam dropped a vase at the sight of her. Mary’s mum makes her promise never to cut her hair again. But she didn’t say anything about dying it…

Mary is a lovely, sparky character, and drawn with tons of expression by the talented Richard Watson, and I think that most children could relate to the story of a girl who wants to be just a little more popular, but doesn’t pick the most effective means of going about it. As a mum, though, I thought someone should call social services to sort out those desperately negligent parents of hers! Hair dye? Scissors? Really??

A lovely book for primary school children.

By the same author: Artemis Fowl

Competition: Win RHCBA13 books!

Published March 1, 2013 by Krissie West

In honour of last weekend’s annual Red House Children’s Book Awards, we have three books to give away:

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

The Medusa Project Hit Squad by Sophie McKenzie

To win one of these great prizes, answer the following question:

Who was the overall winner of the Red House Children’s Book Awards in 2013?

Answers to me at kristina.west@btopenworld.com no later than Friday 8th March.

Good luck!

Book review: Rooftoppers

Published February 28, 2013 by Krissie West

Rooftoppers
Author: Katherine Rundell
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Price: £6.99
ISBN: 978-0-571-23462-2

FF rating: 9/10
Recommended age: 9+
Reviewer: Krissie

Just in time for Mothers’ Day (in the UK, at least) comes the 7th March release of this beautiful book about one girl’s refusal to give up her hunt for her mother, even when everyone else is sure she is dead.

Sophie is found, as a baby, floating in a cello case by the brilliantly eccentric Charles, who takes her in. She is brought up on his own diet of books (both to read and to use as plates), trouser-wearing, music and no end of other things that meet the increasingly disapproving eye of the authorities. When, finally, they decide to take her away and send her to an orphanage, the two flee to Paris in a hunt for Sophie’s mother. Sophie’s need for safety drives her up onto the rooftops of Paris, where she meets rooftopper Matteo and the other sky-urchins, and learns that freedom comes in many guises. She also hears the music that might one day lead her to her mother.

Rooftoppers is a beautifully written hymn to the wildness and freedom of childhood, with Sophie the embodiment of both its hopes and fears, and its refusal to give in when even the slightest breath of hope might be found. The language is lyrical throughout, and the characters distinctive, individual and sympathetic, each in their own ways. If I have a complaint, it is only that I want to know more – but the true talent of the author is in knowing where to stop. Highly recommended.

By the same author: The Girl Savage