Wednesday, 24 February 2016

#CoverKidsBooks - Chapter Two

Three weeks in to the campaign and #CoverKidsBooks is continuing to create discussion both online and in the bigger, wider world. There have been some exciting talks going on behind the scenes, as we build on plans to take the campaign to the next level, so please watch this space.

We would again like to express our immense gratitude to everyone who has tweeted the #CoverKidsBooks hashtag, commented on one of our posts, written their own blog post in support, or supported the campaign in any other way. On Monday 29th February S.F. Said will be posting the next of his campaign posts, this time featuring interviews with librarians, and we hope you will join us again in adding to the discussion. In the meantime, we wanted to bring you another round up of some of the supportive tweets, blog posts and other items that have caught our eye in the past week or so.

This tweet from @KL_Peebles echoed the thoughts of a lot of people who we have spoken to about #CoverKidsBooks:

We are loving the #CoverKidsBooks tweets by school librarian and blogger Jo Clarke (aka @bookloverJo). Some of the pupils at Jo's school are also going top be reviewing a book as part of the TES's decision to give more coverage to children's books. If you love kid's books and you don't already follow her then you should head on over to Twitter and click the 'follow' button now!


It is great to see the #CoverKidsBooks  hashtag being mentioned more and more in blog posts, either as a main focus for a post or even just a brief mention:

Imogen Russell Williams was invited by Andrew Hall (@PewterWolf13) to write a piece about #CoverKidsBooks for his blog, The Pewter Wolf:
"This breadth of wonders just can’t be adequately covered in seasonal round-ups, or a 2cm once-a-week review that will all too often go to a famous first-timer or big name, rather than an exciting debut or even a ‘quiet’, but compelling, slow-working story. The downside to the sheer number of brilliant kids’ books being published is that it’s all too easy for an author’s work to sink undeservedly, never finding the readers with whom it was written to resonate and chime."
 @MsXpat wrote a great post on her The Tiger Tales Blog about how she and her children find books, in particular those that include diversity:
"My question is based on the poor coverage, how do libraries, bookshops and children centres know the full range of what’s available for their readers? Of course I know there are catalogues, publishers and book sellers' catalogues but it's the reviews that give the experience of material. How can parents and carers avoid the trap of simply buying what’s most popular and not allow children to experience a wide variety of reading matter? In my humble opinion the system is set up for only a few to succeed"
We loved Jim's (@YAYeahYeah) Happy YA blog post, and his opening paragraph is one we found ourselves nodding to:
"Another week, another jaw-droppingly ignorant article about YA in a mainstream newspaper. I knew the #CoverKidsBooks hashtag should actually have been #CoverKidsBooksWithoutResortingToSadClickbait but felt it was probably too long."
This goes some way to answering newspapers who claim that they devote online space to children's books. Sadly, when articles about YA literature appear online they all too often seem to be written purely to raise the ire of those who read and love young adult books, rather than be written to celebrate the wealth of brilliant YA fiction that is published these days.

Author Anne Booth (@Bridgeanne) gave #CoverKidsBooks a great mention in her Valuing Children and Kindness blog post:
It is astonishing that children’s books are ignored so much – and every children’s writer cheered when Frances Hardinge won the Costa prize for her novel ‘The Lie Tree’, not just because it is an excellent book and deserved all the praise it got, but because it was showing the wider literary public that children’s books can be amazing and just as brilliant – if not more so – than any written for adults. I often have more confidence that I am going to read and enjoy an excellent story when I pick up a children’s book than an adult book. There are some AMAZING books out there – and I encourage you to browse the children’s shelves in your library or bookshop and see what I am talking about.
I think this lack of respect for books written for children is not just about underestimating the skill of the adults who write for them, but also about undervaluing children themselves.

And finally, thank you to Vincent Ripley (@Enchantedbooks), for publishing this list of bloggers who write about children's books. In the (current) absence of coverage in newspapers these are some of the best places to find out about new books for children and young adults.


We have tweeted several times asking for supporters to let us know if they spot any coverage of children's books in the press. We aren't just here to campaign and criticise, we also want to celebrate when we feel that newspapers 'get it right', and the past week has brought a couple of cracking examples:

On Monday 22nd February, The Metro ran this fabulous whole page piece on Feminism and Friendship in YA literature, written by Imogen Russell Williams:

Two days earlier, The Guardian ran a piece about the recently announced longlist for the 2016 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals.

Thank you to both of these newspapers for giving coverage to children's books. Sadly, it's not all good news though, as highlighted by school librarian Gillian Ward, in her tweet:

Why, indeed? Despite putting a lot of thought to this I cannot come up with any rational explanation as to why, in twelve pages of book coverage, not a single children's book is reviewed. For anyone who may question the validity of the #CoverKidsBooks campaign, here is a perfect example of why we feel that children's books are underserved by the UK national press.


Thank you for your continued support and don't forget to pop back on Monday for our S.F. Said's interviews with librarians blog post.


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