Some useful links and resources for children’s books and reading for pleasure.
Book Clubs in Schools provide training and week by week guides so that schools can deliver peer led book clubs. These involve older children facilitating weekly clubs for younger year groups. Most are Y10s or 12s working with Year 7s, but there are also primary schools using the model. The clubs encourage reading, foster analytical and debating skills, support interaction between different age groups and provide opportunities for older children to volunteer and develop facilitation skills.
Set up by the author Maz Evans to help match schools up with interested donors to get books into their libraries. If you have books you would like to donate (good quality, no uncorrected proofs or books that are not intended for sale) or would like to buy new books for a school then they have a map and directory to find a school that needs donations. Schools can sign up on the site. Not intended as a substitute for lobbying for proper funding for books in schools, but a stopgap while that debate goes on.
A newish part of BookTrust’s online offer, HomeTime is a collection of free online books and videos, games, book-themed quizzes, drawing guides and competitions. It is aimed at families for use at home, but there are lots of materials on it that would also work well in schools. There is a separate section for 0-5s with songs and read-alongs. There is also the BookTrust Bookfinder which gives book recommendations and reviews for all ages.
Acorn Book Club is a charity that operates in SE London and Kent . It is the CSR arm of Acorn Estate Agents. Children’s books can be donated at any of their estate agent branches (these include Acorn, John Payne and Langford Russell). The ABC charity then sorts them and works with local schools to restock their libraries. They also support schools to improve their reading areas and school libraries and develop outside quiet areas suitable for reading.
A monthly podcast from Just Imagine about reading, children’s books, writers, illustrators and topical news about teaching literacy and English. Includes interviews with authors and magazine style discussions.
A book review site for children’s books. Reviews from children and parents (and some teachers). Still building up user base but a good snapshot of new books and insight into responses from readers. Some giveaways in return from reviews.
A directory for book events in the UK. Search for author events and literary festivals. Covers all genres and ages. Sign up for personal notifications or follow their Twitter feed for latest events.
An online children’s book magazine which comes out 6 times a year and includes reviews and feature interviews with authors. More frequent updates can be found on the website including children’s book prize announcements.
A monthly podcast and radio show all about children’s books. Founded by three children’s publishing industry insiders – Katherine Woodfine, Melissa Cox and Louise Lamont – it is currently hosted by Louise together with Imogen Russell Williams and Jack Noel.
Each episode features special studio guests, author and illustrator interviews, and reviews of the very best new books for children, from picture books to young adult novels.
A monthly discussion group held on Twitter under #primaryschoolbookclub
It takes place on the last day of the month 7-8pm. Hosted by and aimed at primary school staff, librarians and PGCE students. It is a good forum for sharing books and ideas for their use in the classroom. Authors often also join in and answer questions. The next month’s book is chosen by vote on Twitter in the 24 hours after each discussion.
A free website providing online ‘masterclasses’ with children’s authors. The aim is for the authors to share their unique approach to writing and pass on their love for literacy. Each author masterclass involves a series of videos and a cross-curricular scheme of work, plus extract downloads, chapter readings and often other activities. Authorfy also offer a creative writing club for 7-11s. This is a termly subscription and includes all the materials needed to run a club.
Building on an OU/UKLA project which examined children’s and teachers’ reading lives, and established effective ways to support Reading for Pleasure (RfP), this web site supports the RfP professional community. It includes access to the original research and wider resources. The project hosts conferences for sharing practice and supports CPD for RfP groups for teachers. These are spread across the county and are run by volunteer leaders, meeting after school .