Tag Archives: Philip Reeve

2010 Carnegie shortlist

At last! I kept checking and checking, until the shortlist snuck in the back door while I wasn’t looking at all.

ANDERSON, LAURIE HALSE  – CHAINS

GAIMAN, NEIL  – THE GRAVEYARD BOOK

GRANT, HELEN  –  THE VANISHING OF KATHARINA LINDEN

HEARN, JULIE  – ROWAN THE STRANGE

NESS, PATRICK –  THE ASK AND THE ANSWER

PRATCHETT, TERRY –  NATION

REEVE, PHILIP –  FEVER CRUMB

SEDGWICK, MARCUS –  REVOLVER

Of the eight I have read six and they are all excellent, as is to be expected. I have never read either Julie Hearn or Philip Reeve, but I’m fairly certain they are equally good.

Which book will win? So far Neil Gaiman seems to have won everything with The Graveyard Book, so there may be no stopping the man. Will they go for old established, like Terry Pratchett, or new like Helen Grant? And Patrick Ness has won quite a bit in a short period of time.

Or they could simply surprise me if they feel like it.

It’s Arthur

Will I give up my subconscious avoidance of books on Arthur now? I don’t know, but congratulations to Philip Reeve on being awarded the Carnegie medal for Here Lies Arthur. Everyone says what a good book it is, and last year’s winner Meg Rosoff predicted Philip would win this time.

There is something about Arthur that stops me reading. It must be some inexplicable, early prejudice, which causes this to happen.

The only Arthurian book I have read is Joan Aiken’s The Stolen Lake. Even midway through her Wolves of Willoughby Chase series, the mention of Arthur in the blurb very nearly stopped me. So irrational.

I will work on this.

Revolting authors

I know, I know. I have always said how lovely “my” authors are. It’s the other kind of revolting, here, and enough has already been said about the age banding business, except I suspect authors have such quiet, boring lives that this business has perked them up considerably. And as with many protest movements, some of the best are the totally unexpected ones. I bet the publishers didn’t see this coming, nor will they have seen their suggested move as bad or sneaky. I’m sure they meant well, really.

Half term the other week brought a round robin type email from Adele Geras on the subject. It was flattering to be included with all these big names, and then for a few days their reply emails popped into the witch’s inbox as well. All, without fail, are against the proposal to put ages on children’s books.

And then Mark Lawson in the Guardian wrote about it, and after that came Philip Pullman. The Guardian blog has had something “new” on the subject quite a few times now, and yesterday Adele blogged once more, only to be attacked in many of the comments.

On the other side stand Meg Rosoff and Philip Reeve, all alone.

I’m still somewhere in the middle, and it’s very much like the Irish question where I suspect there is no absolute right or wrong. I just hope it can be debated without the bombs.

My humble opinion is that guidelines are very good and useful, but they need to be correct to start with, and they need to be used by people who aren’t idiots. And one thing I’ve learned from the comments on the Guardian blog, is that bookshops are full of idiotic customers, hellbent on making children read the wrong book, or stopping them from reading the right one. I recently witnessed a woman who wanted the last Harry Potter for a six-year-old. Maybe I should have stepped in and said something, but I didn’t.

I asked a group of 13 to 14-year-olds this week what they thought. I mainly wanted to find out if they would feel embarrassed to be seen reading a book “too young” for them. None of them said they would mind. Initially, most thought the age banding a good idea, but after a surprisingly long debate, we were left with one girl in favour and the rest against.

As I don’t believe that a banding system would be done very well, my gut feeling is to leave books alone for now. What we have isn’t perfect, but guidelines would most likely just lead to a new type of mistake, rather than solving things once and for all.

What I’d like most, is for all shops to be staffed by people who know. And in my perfect world adults will no longer stop children from reading either War and Peace or Nancy Drew, if that’s what they want. Nor will they force them to read those books for whatever reason. But I think we have a dreadfully long way to go.

2008 Carnegie shortlist

Here, briefly, is the shortlist for the Carnegie, announced today. It looks very respectable, but I’ll have to start reading quickly. One of them has been lying around in the piles for ages, so this will have to be the spur.

KEVIN CROSSLEY-HOLLAND: GATTY’S TALE Orion (Age range: 10+)

LINZI GLASS: RUBY RED Penguin (Age range: 12+)

ELIZABETH LAIRD: CRUSADE Macmillan (Age range: 10+)

TANYA LANDMAN: APACHE Walker (Age range: 12+)

PHILIP REEVE: HERE LIES ARTHUR Scholastic (Age range: 12+)

MEG ROSOFF: WHAT I WAS Penguin (Age range: 12+)

JENNY VALENTINE: FINDING VIOLET PARK HarperCollins (Age range: 12+)

What do people think?