Tag Archives: Helena Pielichaty

The EIBF 2013 programme

It’s not exactly a bad programme this year. It’s not exactly short on authors, either. I’ve probably missed a few, seeing as I have only browsed the pdf  in a hasty fashion, but even so, were it not for the fact that I actually know I am unable to cover the full two and a half weeks of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, I’d sign up for the complete works. Again.

I’d been thinking a weekend. Maybe a longish weekend, but no more than four days. But which longish weekend? And what about the fantastic midweek offerings?

This is going to be an easy post to write! I could simply list authors, one after the other. But that would be boring.

For the time being I will not cover the adult writers, although I noticed Salman Rushdie is coming. Roddy Doyle. And Patrick Ness is an adult this time.

So, first weekend ‘as usual’ we have Meg Rosoff, as well as her stable (yeah, right…) mates Eoin Colfer and Cathy Cassidy. Anne Fine, Tommy Donbavand, Helena Pielichaty, Linda Strachan, Andy Mulligan. Carnegie winner Sally Gardner. Obvious choice. First weekend it will be.

Meg Rosoff

On the other hand, during the week when it grows a little quieter we have Elizabeth Wein. Hmm. Debi Gliori with Tobermory Cat. Nicola Morgan. Lari Don and Vivian French. Damien M Love. Well, that would be good!

But Elen Caldecott is someone I’ve always missed. She’s there the second weekend. It will have to be the middle weekend. Charlie Fletcher, Teresa Breslin and Eleanor Updale, Jon Mayhew and Darren Shan. Need I say more? OK, Tom Palmer, Chae Strathie. Melvin Burgess. Keith Gray.

Jonathan Stroud has a new book coming, which I like the look of. And he’s there the second week. So are Julie Bertagna and Teri Terry, and Daniel Hahn is talking translation. That is interesting.

Having said that, the last, extra long weekend looks by far the best. Doesn’t it? Judit Kerr. Neil Gaiman. Our new children’s laureate, Malorie Blackman. Our own Liz Kessler, and Tim Bowler. Philip Caveney from ‘home’ and Derek Landy, whom I’ve not seen for a long time… Jo Nadin and Spideyman himself, Steve Cole.

Yes. No competition there. Except maybe all the other days.

What do the rest of you think?

(Sorry. I see I have done a list after all.)

Catalogue woes

When I received my first book catalogues from publishers I was childishly pleased. And I still am. Sometimes. I was talking to a book world friend a few weeks ago about a recently received annual catalogue, and remarking that for all the books it listed, I was only interested in one.

In a way that was good, because it eases the burden of how to find the time to read. But what upset me was the large number of romances. That’s the only word to describe what they are. My foreign youthful equivalents of Mills & Boon have now been replaced by books with dark covers depicting vampires and dystopias and the like.

One such book I can show an interest in. Several even, if they don’t all come at once. Except they do. The catalogue I have in mind had pages and pages of them, and when you see all the covers side by side, the similarities are more striking than when you see them on their own. Being a bit gaga I peer at every new book and wonder whether I’ve already seen it. But most likely it was just one of its mates, looking almost the same.

The books are OK. I’m sure I’d enjoy reading a few if I had nothing else to read. But like the Mills & Boons they are not really review material. Or at least, I don’t think so. I’d never have dreamt of reviewing a romance back when I consumed them, nor would I have looked for someone else’s review of them. You buy or borrow, read and discard.

But luckily there are other catalogues. Some are excellent and contain not only the new books soon to come, but list all the old books still available. And when they are good ones it makes you go a bit crazy, until you realise you can’t order half the back catalogue. You just don’t have the time.

And then there are the ones that list books to appear over the next few months. Like the Walker Books Seasonal Catalogue which just arrived. The cover is nice. It’s from the May lead title, and looks like something I’ll want to read. A war time Shirley Hughes novel. On past lots of picture books. Then comes a new Sonya Hartnett. At least I think it is. The blurb sounds a little like another one, but I’m sure it’s new.

After which I get to the first and second books in Ann Turnbull’s ‘epic Friends trilogy.’ Whoa! It is a trilogy? I didn’t know. If so, where is number three? Hang on, perhaps the first two are there to herald the arrival of the third?

More picture books, and then what might be the end of Helena Pielichaty’s Girls FC football books. Old Horowitz.

Yes! It is a trilogy! And I haven’t missed a thing, because here comes the ‘long-awaited conclusion’ of Ann’s Friends trilogy, Seeking Eden. Not now, obviously. In the summer. But at least I hadn’t lost my mind.

More novels, more picture books (if that is possible) and some Baker Street Boys, of which there are many. Anthony Read has been busy. I can almost cope with this. There are books I like the look of, ones I love the look of and some which look fine but that I will not have time for.

And then there are lists and catalogues from all the other publishers… As well as the non-existent lists from others. Detective work can be such fun.

Hogging the ball

Isn’t there some largish sports event taking place somewhere? I’m reading the signs (clever me), as there has been a slight influx of football books recently. I’ve even taken to reading more than signs, and have looked at a football book or two.

Ladies first.

It’s back to Helena Pielichaty, and her football series about a girls’ team. This one is (scream!) pink in places, and its protagonist Jenny-Jane hates it. Loves footie and hates the colour pink. But why?

JJ was the one who was rather nasty in the last book, towards her Ukrainian team mate Nika. On the other hand, we could see there was scope for improvement, even for someone whose belongings have mainly fallen off the back of a lorry. JJ’s family isn’t the most loveable or law abiding lot.

So we learn another background story for another girl, and I love that. It works really well when you take a group of people and then look at each one in detail. You learn so much.

And, dear readers, it is possible to learn to love pink. Or at least tolerate. JJ’s brother Billy reminds me of someone I was at primary school with. There are usually more sides than one, even to un-charming idiots.

Ukrainian football for girls

Football. If only it had been ice hockey. Only joking. I do not get football, and would never willingly watch it. But that’s not to say I can’t read a book about the subject.

I noticed earlier that Helena Pielichaty has a new series about girls’ football, and wondered what it would be like. Having been sent book six I know now. (I’m especially grateful it was number six.) Very entertaining and really inspiring for girls the right age. Me, I’m grateful if I don’t have to run about after a ball.

So, book six, What’s Ukrainian For Football? is interesting because it looks more at what it’s like to be an – unwanted – immigrant than it is a regular football story. It’s also got a very heart rending story from World War II, which young readers ought to be interested in. Very far removed from the Beckhams and the Rooneys. And not as sweet as the Christmas match in World War I.

Nika goes to a World Cup Tournament for young girls, and experiences a number of things there; prejudice, blistered feet, friendship and the fun of competing. She learns something about her own family background which she shares with the rest of her team.

There could be more books like this, about newcomers to Britain, and about people who find it hard to pay for football boots. I can see how a football series could be as addictive as horse books. (But I do wonder what Helena was doing putting the Swedish team at the bottom of the table?)