The 100 Best Children’s Books of the 21st Century
Lists

The 100 Best Children’s Books of the 21st Century

In September the Guardian published the 100 books of the 21st Century. It contained only five children’s books, two of which were published in the year 2000 – wrong century – and featured ZERO picture books. Outrage! I was spurred to action and rallied the troops on Twitter. Over 1000 votes and 600 nominated books later and I had what felt like a pretty representative list of the vast range of incredible children’s books published since 2001. Continue reading

50 Books About Boats
Books About Boats / Lists

50 Books About Boats

Pirates, shipwrecks, voyages into the unknown, floods and mysterious strangers. Boats provide a useful function in children’s books. Over the next few months I’ll be writing about my fifty favourite adventures about boats. From fantastical nautical epics to salty graphic yarns, we’ll see how these stories form a central strand of children’s literature, and also … Continue reading

Mangoes and Milktarts: Cooking with Katherine Rundell
Things to Make and Do

Mangoes and Milktarts: Cooking with Katherine Rundell

‘Fictional food’s not reliable,’ says Alexei, a character from Katherine Rundell’s third children’s novel The Wolf Wilder. This incorrect assertion is something Rundell disproves again and again in her delicious books. ‘I think food grounds a story: gives realism to the maddest plot, gives breathing space to the wildest action, brings comfort and humanity to … Continue reading

The Winter Sleepwalker
Quentin Blake

The Winter Sleepwalker

I’ve been banging on about Roald Dahl without Quentin Blake for quite some time now. So I thought I’d better redress the balance and look at the work of the man who was in my opinion an equal partner in their creative relationship. Another equally important collaboration began several years before his work with Dahl. … Continue reading

The Magic Finger illustrated by William Pène du Bois
Roald Dahl / The Illustrated

The Magic Finger illustrated by William Pène du Bois

September 13th is Roald Dahl’s birthday. But before you stick your face in the chocolate lake in celebration, first gorge on these pictures from the original edition of The Magic Finger.   The Magic Finger was the first Dahl book I remember reading. As an introduction to his children’s books it’s slightly unrepresentative, and perhaps … Continue reading

Ed Vere Q&A
Children’s Books That Changed My Life / Q&A

Ed Vere Q&A

Ed Vere is back with a new series of picture books about a scrap of a black kitten called Max. The second book, Max at Night, was published this month in which the kitten turns superhero, fearlessly prowling the city at night. Ed’s picture books draw on classic comic book action and have bold graphic design elements, so I was interested to find out about the books that shaped him as an author. Continue reading

Charlie et la Chocolaterie illustrated by Michel Siméon
Charlie at 50 / Roald Dahl

Charlie et la Chocolaterie illustrated by Michel Siméon

Voici Charlie. Bonjour, Charlie! Bonjour, bonjour et re-bonjour. In 1967 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published in France for the first time. As I mentioned in my previous article this was nearly a full year before any British publisher thought it worthy of publication. It came with brand new illustrations by Michel Siméon the … Continue reading

Fantastic Libraries
Reading

Fantastic Libraries

‘There’s so much to see and smell here! Whole levels of the library that nobody has been into for a hundred thousand years! Locked rooms full of ancient secrets. Treasure! Knowledge! Fun‘ Garth Nix’s Lirael. When Birmingham’s new mega library opened last week I was blown away by the sheer scale and heartened by a … Continue reading