Christopher Edge

Blog posts tagged "Children's+fiction"

Bargain book of the month!

A helter-skelter of deadlines has kept me away from this blog, but I’m now back to breathe some much-needed life into it before it withers on the vine. Lots of exciting news to come about books on the horizon, but first I wanted to share a rather wonderful discovery I recently made whilst browsing in a local charity shop.

Now I love bookshops of all descriptions, but there’s something rather magical about the random literary treasures that you can find lurking inside a charity shop. If you delve past the spinners of dog-eared romance novels and burrow through the thickets of John Grisham and Dan Brown, then you might be able to unearth a fabulous gem.

I was skimming the shelves in search of such treasure, when I spotted this. It wasn’t a book – it was a box...

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Fantastic fiction was the promise on the side – all for the bargain price of £3! I quickly pushed my way past the racks of free Catherine Cookson DVDs from the Daily Mail and hurried to the counter, the box clutched tightly to my chest.

The familiar logo on the front had already brought back fond memories of the Puffin Book Club, but as I slid the books out of the box I realised that there were more pieces of my childhood captured inside.

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Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien. Just opening the cover of this book, I was transported with an Alain Prost-ian rush (like a Proustian rush, but even quicker as it’s driving a 1980s Formula One car) back to a leaky pre-fab classroom in my old primary school. A wintry darkness licks at the classroom window as the teacher unfolds the story of the extraordinary rats of NIMH...

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Thunder and Lightnings by Jan Mark. This book was to blame for the sudden rash of drawing pins that studded my bedroom ceiling one summer as a squadron of badly-painted Airfix models took flight. Sorry Mum! A wonderful story of friendship, rather shamefully, it remains the only book by Jan Mark that I’ve ever read.

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A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin. Before I read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, before I battled The Warlock of Firetop Mountain or braved the depths of the Forest of Doom, this book was my introduction to fantasy. I remember being spellbound by the story of Ged’s fledgling powers, his magical training at a school for wizards, the scar he receives from a dark spirit summoned from the dead and Ged’s quest to rid the world of this nameless shadow that stalks him. Wait a second, isn’t that the plot of Harry...

There were more great books in the box, but these were the ones that took me back to the library of my childhood. They’re now sitting on the shelf in my study, waiting for my own children to grow older and turn their pages. Three pounds for a treasure chest of classic children’s fiction – have you got a bookshop find that beats that?

Bookbuzz 2012

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At the end of last week I received the fantastic news that Twelve Minutes to Midnight has been chosen by Booktrust for their inaugural Bookbuzz list. Bookbuzz is a new reading programme that offers secondary schools the chance to give their Year 7 pupils the choice of a book from a specially selected list of 17 titles that includes fiction, non-fiction and poetry. 

The Bookbuzz programme aims to support reading for pleasure as children make the transition from primary to secondary school, which is time when many pupils can start to drift away from books and lose their love of reading. As someone who has written publications about promoting enthusiasm for reading and improving reading in schools, I am incredibly proud that Twelve Minutes to Midnight has been chosen to be part of this wonderful programme.

Bookbuzz rolls out this September to secondary schools across the country and schools who wish to take part have until the 20th July to register. So, if you're involved in secondary education and want to encourage reading for pleasure with some fabulous books and resources, get the Bookbuzz!

A huge thank you to Booktrust for choosing Twelve Minutes to Midnight, and Nosy Crow and all the other publishers who support this vitally important initiative.

A round-up of reviews

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The Many Worlds of Albie Bright was published on the 14th January and I’ve been absolutely thrilled by the reception it’s received so far from readers. Just ahead of publication, The Times chose The Many Worlds of Albie Bright as their Children’s Book of the Week and Albie’s also received some lovely reviews from magazines and book blogs too.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s read and reviewed The Many Worlds of Albie Bright. Last night, Frances Hardinge was awarded the Costa Book of the Year for her amazing novel The Lie Tree, and in her acceptance speech she described how it is a fantastic time to be writing children’s fiction and invited readers who might think that children’s books are not their thing to come and explore because ‘there’s a beautiful jungle out there.’

I love this image of the ‘beautiful jungle’ of children’s fiction, a world filled with wonder and excitement, where writers of real ambition such as Hardinge have made their home. Reviewers of children’s books are the indispensible guides to this ‘beautiful jungle’, leading readers through the thickets and vines to discover amazing books and fantastic authors, and I’m so grateful to all the reviewers who have shared their thoughts on The Many Worlds of Albie Bright. And if any reviewers felt able too to cross-post their review on the websites of online retailers such as Amazon, Waterstones etc. I’d really appreciate this, as sometimes these websites are where new readers take a first peek at the ‘beautiful jungle’ that’s out there.   

Here’s the round-up of reviews and if you’ve reviewed The Many Worlds of Albie Bright and would like me to add a link to your review to this list, just drop me a line and I’ll update this blogpost.

“This book is such a delight – it made me laugh out loud, took my breath away and made me cry. It truly is a wonderful story which I loved reading.” BookLover Jo

“This is an extraordinary novel for children that sets out to explore the possibilities of our world”  Minerva Reads

“It is a world full of many possibilities, a world of imagination and one that I would recommend to everyone, not just children Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

“This eccentric, rather vividly compelling book is something that I think will mark its space very distinctly in the world.” L.H. Johnson

“This book offers accessible insights into such perplexing subjects as quantum physics, while telling a great story at the same time” Family Traveller

“This is an amazing, wonder-filled novel that ... really touches the heart and excites the mind. More than that, it is FUN. I can't recommend this book highly enough." Fallen Star Stories

"I am quite certain that this book will find its way into the hearts of children and adults alike" Armadillo Mag

"With its brilliant story and universal appeal, I wholeheartedly recommend The Many Worlds of Albie Bright to readers of all ages." Sofi Croft's Book of the Month

"A quantum fairy tale" John K. Fulton

"An accessible, inclusive delight of an adventure, with a bittersweet centre - that will take readers as far as their curiosity dares them to go" Teach Primary magazine 

Finally, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Samira Ahmed for Front Row, Radio 4’s premier magazine programme about the arts, earlier this month, and you’ll be able to hear me discussing quantum physics, children’s fiction and The Many Worlds of Albie Bright when this is broadcast on Front Row at 7.15pm on Thursday 28th January. Here’s the link to the podcast of the programme which should be available shortly after broadcast.

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