Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Introducing the new Waterstones Children's Laureate!

Sadly, Chris Riddell's time as the Waterstones Children's Laureate has come to an end. Chris is responsible for books such as the Goth Girl series, the Ottoline series, and 100 Hugs

But, with every goodbye we say hello to a new face. And that lovely face happens to be... Lauren Child!

Yes, the wonderful author of books such as Charlie and Lola (which was made into a tv series) and one of my personal favourite children's book characters Clarice Bean has stepped into the role of inspiring young people to read. And, more importantly, inspiring them to love it. 

Waterstones created this role to celebrate the achievement of writers that work their entire lives to make sure that young people have interesting and fun content to read, which in turn encourages them to carry on reading as they get older, which makes them more likely to do well in school. 

Lauren will be the store's 10th Laureate, and I can't wait to see what she achieves in this time!

On the Waterstones website, Lauren says that she wants to “focus on building stronger links between the world of children’s literature and other art forms such as fine art, film, music, television and design… I want to inspire children to believe in their own creative potential, to make their own stories and drawings and ignite in them the delight of reading for pleasure.”

She also wants to focus on equality in children's books.

What a brilliant choice of Laureate! I wish Lauren all the best in her new role.

Lauren Child will be Children's Laureate from 2017-2019, and you can find her on her website.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Let Kids Read What They Want

Today, I saw one of the ugliest polls I have ever seen in my life.

A poll, quite surprisingly, from the Sunday Times.

The poll came as a general question after this article was published, describing a head teacher (note: a middle-aged, white, presumably heterosexual, upper class male) who is banning 'low quality' books in his school including the Twilight series, the Percy Jackson series, and the Skullduggery Pleasant series. He called them, and many others, “so simplistic, brutal or banal”. 

This, as you could probably guess, rustled my jimmies to perhaps a new height in the stratosphere to which my jimmies have never reached before. I am a HUGE advocate for letting children, especially young children in primary school, read whatever the hell they want. As long as they are reading, this should be enough.

Of course, you could argue that this just wouldn't work. Young children definitely need some level of guidance on the books that they can read during school hours. But, there is a more compelling argument that as long as they are reading books that match or begin to excel their individual reading age, then the genre really doesn't matter. In fact, allowing them to explore more contemporary books and giving them this free choice will encourage them to read more enthusiastically on school grounds and at home. 

There was another series of books that this very privileged man has decided to ban from the school premises, and those are... you've guessed it... Girl Online by Zoella. 

Zoella gets so much criticism from the traditional media outlets about her books. No matter what your opinion is on the current surge in books by Youtube content creators, the facts still stand: Zoella has completely smashed the sales records for books (beating JK Rowling and EL James in the process) which means that she sold more of her books in the first week of release than any other book every written since records begin in the 1980's. 

What can we conclude from this information? That more young people are taking an active interest in reading than ever before. They are taking initiative and asking parents to buy them a book that is appropriate for their age range, or saving up their own pocket money and buying the books themselves. THIS IS WHAT I CALL A RESULT!

And would you seriously rather more Fifty Shades of Grey books get sold than wholesome and funny books like Girl Online

At the end of the day, school libraries do have a responsibility to supply books that will not cause psychological harm to students or prevent them from developing their reading skills further. But this is a primary school we are talking about. Let the kids read their fantasy books about pirates and vampires and keep their imagination burning. After all, we need more budding authors for the future.

Zoella will not harm your students. Letting your personal taste about what is 'high quality' and 'low quality' literature will. 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Females that Inspire Me

Let's talk women. And drag queens!

Since its International Women's Day, I couldn't go without writing about some of my favourite women on the planet. However, some of my favourite women only identify as women in spirit! It is important to recognise that not all women have vaginas.

Here are some queens and queens that I respect so damn much, in no particular order.

1. Ellen DeGeneres: because she's Ellen, and she never fails to make me laugh.

2. Michelle Obama: BECAUSE SHE IS MICHELLE OBAMA. Not "Obama's wife". Michelle Obama. In her own right.

3. Michelle Visage: another Michelle. Fierce supporter of the LGBT+ community and a feminist forever.

4. Bianca Del Rio: one of the hardest working drag queens and her talent is enough to stun you into silence (or non-stop laughter).

5. Katya Zamolodchikova: one of my all time favourite drag queens. She is crazy and creative and her character is a stroke of genius.

6. RuPaul Charles: MAMA RU! The queen of all queens. Made drag what it is today and created a platform for LGBT+ voices to be heard.

7. Adore Delano: her Twitter feed makes me think about life and she is SO TALENTED.

8. Holly Bourne: her books are like feminist bibles. Always consult them for your equality needs.

9. Keris Stainton: an all-round fabulous woman and is, like mothers generally, always right.

10. Ruby Tandoh: Bake-Off star and writer in her own right. An incredibly insightful person.

11. Kate McKinnon: one of my favourite human beings on this planet. Talent runs through her veins, not blood.

12. Sarah Schneider: a writer for SNL who helps to create the funniest sketches on television.

13. Juno Dawson: amazing author-y human being, who deserves all of the success in the world.

Who inspires you?

Let me know in the comments!