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Sunday 23 August 2015

News from abroad

It’s Book Week – Add a little lightness to your world and enjoy the celebrations!
This week, Maureen Mann shares some snippets of publishing trends from the northern hemisphere.

Congratulations to all the authors and illustrators of the CBCA winners and honour books, announced last Friday. There are some wonderful books there. Do you agree with the judges’ decisions? However we feel about their choices I know that really good diligence has gone into the process.

I read a couple of interesting articles in an English newspaper last weekend.

The Rabbit who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin. Forssen Ehrlin claims that this book is ‘the verbal equivalent of rocking a baby to sleep’. The author, a Swedish behavioural psychologist, suggests instructions for reading the book: to use the child’s name, yawn frequently, read calmly and slowly and emphasise certain words. The book is said to work with a kind of hypnosis, lulling the child’s mind. It seems that many many parents agree with his ideas and for them, bedtime has changed from being a long drawn-out process to a simple one. Of course, there are some for whom it hasn’t worked. Reviews about the book seem to imply that the concept works for older children better than it does for younger ones. It’s an interesting theory which I hope not to have to test! This book is also incidentally the first self-published book to reach the top of the Amazon best-sellers list.

The second article was about the number of books being released 8 October in England in readiness for the Christmas market, and that children’s publishing is bucking the trend towards digital books. The number of children’s titles on the ‘Super Thursday’ list has doubled since last year, rising from about 50 in 2014 to 115 this year. It’s a British list, so the predicted successful authors are familiar names there (and of course for us in Australia), including Michael Morpurgo, Eoin Colfer, Jacqueline Wilson, Julia Donaldson and Rainbow Rowell. 

Over the same period there is to be a celebration of books and booksellers, with a specially printed carrybag: Books are My Bag and there’s a series of literary events and parties to promote reading. I look forward to seeing the 2015 version of the bag: both the adult one designed by Grayson Perry and the children’s version by Lauren Child. It will be interesting to see how accurate these sales predictions are.

What would be on your 2015 ‘best books’ list?

Maureen Mann
Retired teacher librarian and avid reader

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