Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Carolyne Latham: Back to the future for the holidays!

Carolyne Latham works in the children's department of Blackwell on South Bridge here in Edinburgh. Spending so much time surrounded by books in such a wonderful children's section ensures that Carolyne's finger is always on the pulse of new children's fiction. She takes over the blog to give us a few ideas for summer reading...

After work last Tuesday my colleague Julie and I had only to pootle down from the bookshop to the Dovecot Studios to view Mr Gumpy and Other Outings, an exhibition of artwork by John Burningham. The picture book author and illustrator was first to win the Kate Greenaway Medal twice for Borka and Mr Gumpy's Outing, and the collection of work provides insight into the creation of his distinctive books. The exhibition and its events programme coincide with the publication of It's a Secret!, in which a curious little girl discovers where her cat disappears to every night...

I did not realise there were questions over the whereabouts and wellbeing of Winnie-the-Pooh, but we are to be told everything in Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, sequel to The House at Pooh Corner, which is due for publication in autumn. In anticipation of the new Winnie-the-Pooh book, children beginning to read on their own can discover the A A Milne stories with their original E H Shepard illustrations, and enjoy summer with Christopher Robin and the Best Bear in All the World.

The familiarity of the Hundred Acre Wood is far from the forests of Finland, where creatures we know as Moomintrolls live. Author Tove Jansson wrote Finn Family Moomintroll, the first in a series of eight, with her remote environment as the inspiration for her highly artistic and imaginative work. With the publication of Moominpappa at Sea, book lovers over the age of eight can come along on every Moomin adventure.

The creation of the landscape of Scandinavia is one of the secrets we discover in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, my favourite book as a young adult. The original psychedelic cover had DON'T PANIC in large friendly letters on the back, just like the intergalactic guide book itself, and the story of Arthur Dent and his friends led to four more books in an increasingly inaccurate trilogy of five. After the death of author Douglas Adams, the publication in autumn of book six, And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer invites a new generation to discover the series.

So there's a little something for all ages - thank you Carolyne! Of course, keep checking the blog throughout the summer for even more titles to add to your 'To Read' lists!

Other news:

Walker Books has brought forward publication of a new Alex Rider novel, Crocodile Tears, to this autumn after author Anthony Horowitz delivered the manuscript earlier than expected. You can read more about this exciting development on the Bookseller website.

The latest Harry Potter film - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is released this week, (not that any of you eager muggles needed reminding!)

The diaries of Alison Uttley - creator of Little Grey Rabbit - have been edited by her biographer Professor Denis Judd, and are published this month by Pen and Sword. The diaries span the years between 1931 and 1972 and reveal a darker side to the author of the cute wee rabbit, from her contempt for Enid Blyton, to her dislike of her illustrators.

Many of you will have been following the news on the vetting of authors who visit schools (The Vetting and Barring Scheme organised by The Independent Safeguarding Authority). Please note that the proposal does not cover Scotland. For further information please refer to Disclosure Scotland guidelines at


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