Round Up of Children's Publishing
The Summer Reading Challenge 2020
The Summer Reading Challenge (SRC), presented by The Reading Agency, began in 1999 and runs annually, encourages children aged 4 -11 to continue reading outside of school. Each year brings with it a new and creative theme; previous themes have included Roald Dahl in 2016 and Space Chase in 2019. This year’s theme: The Silly Squad! It is all about celebrating funny books and losing yourself to laughter with the help of a team of fancy dressed animals (illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson) who enjoy an adventure. The SRC works in partnership with schools and public libraries, however this year, with most of these facilities shut, the challenge has made its way online. From 5 June to the middle of September, children can sign up on the website, set a personal reading goal and track and review the books they read. They can pick their next book with a Book Sorter, which recommends a wide range of books reviewed by children or join the chat and ask another member of the silly squad for recommendations.
These are unusual and stressful times for us all and especially for children as they haven’t been able to see their friends or go to school; it is because of this that the theme of happiness and laughter is especially poignant. The SRC is creating an environment for children to engage with each other, find escapism through funny literature and have fun with their families playing games and quizzes. The challenge couldn’t have come at a better time: it is free, entirely digital and, along with many libraries making e-books and audiobooks more accessible, this means a greater number of children can get involved.
If you know of a child who would love to join in with the SRC, they can check out the website here: https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/
It has all the information they will need to take part this summer.
Combatting Lockdown Blues by Celebrating Classics
Being cooped up is hard for adult minds, never mind the inquisitive brains of children. Reading has become a sacred act in these sheltered-in-place times. Parents and caregivers are spending more time than ever at home with their children and are turning to books to bond over. BookTrust discovered that 47% of parents reported an increase in their children’s reading habits during lockdown. The publishing industry is encouraging children’s reading further by re-issuing classics from their parents and caregivers’ generation, giving everyone an important piece of shared solace.
“11% of parents have been able to read their child a bedtime story for the first time ever since lockdown began”.
Some familiar titles from years gone by are returning to our shelves this year. Eric Hill’s Where’s Spot? and David McKee’s Not Now, Bernard were first published in 1980, but 40 years on these books have stood the test of time. Both titles have reappeared this year as anniversary editions, prominently placed on modern bookshelves. Whilst Where’s Spot? encourages playful curiosity in younger children, Not Now, Bernard resonates with those isolated from friends and family during lockdown. The key to their sustained success undoubtedly lies in their ability to offer fun to children whilst encouraging adults to reflect on the days before digital absorption when play was simple and they themselves were Bernard!
And Tango Makes Three: Our Review
It is Pride Month, so we thought we would highlight a revolutionary children’s book. Since its publication in 2005, And Tango Makes Three has remained both popular and controversial. Based on the true story of two male penguins in Central Park Zoo, Roy and Silo do everything together – they swim together, sing together and sleep next to each other. Like the other penguin couples, Roy and Silo create a nest and in a humorous attempt to start a family, try (and fail) to hatch a rock. Seeing the love that the pair have for one another, the zookeeper gives them an egg to raise, which eventually hatches into Tango, the “first penguin in the zoo to have two daddies”. Roy and Silo’s tender story is a gentle introduction to same-sex relationships and the various ways that people (and animals) can be a family.