British Teen Book Prize

Bookheads has the shortlist for the Booktrust Teenage Prize:
* Siobhan Dowd – A Swift Pure Cry
* Ally Kennen – Beast
* Paul Magrs – Exchange
* Anthony McGowan – Henry Tumour
* Marcus Sedgwick – The Foreshadowing
* John Singleton – Angel Blood
And I haven’t read a single one of them! They have an author, school student, school librarian, two journalists and four teen judges on their panel. The winner will be announced in November.

The Queen's Feet

The Queen’s Feet by Sarah Ellis, illustrated by Dusan Petricic.

This jaunty picture book features a queen who has uncontrollable feet, especially when she has to dress them up in formal clothes.  Instead of behaving in a royal way, her feet act out kicking other people, doing the splits, and behaving generally badly.  It gets to bad that a council is called and the queen is forced to find a way to control the behavior of her naughty feet.  A compromise is reached where the queen rules most of the time, but her feet rule for one hour out of each day where they can run, kick and be rude.

This is a perfect picture book for wiggly children who can’t control their body parts.  They will laugh at the many things that the queen’s feet do as well.  It is a gentle entry into a discussion of controlling yourself in a class or storytime.  Share this with wiggly preschoolers and kindergarteners who are just learning about sitting still for any length of time. 

Winter Is the Warmest Season

Winter Is the Warmest Season by Lauren Stringer.

This picture book is a tribute to the warmth of winter found in long scarves, fuzzy mittens and warm hats.  It is the warmth of fireplaces, hot drinks, and cozy blankets.  It is the warmth that those of us who live in the north completely understand.  The joys of radiators and heating vents, hot steamy baths, and family.  And it is all the more special juxtaposed against the cold outdoors, the whiteness of the snow and the crispness of the air.  The illustrations capture this contrast beautifully, with many of the orangey glowing pictures surrounded by frames of puffy cool-colored snow. 

Nicely Christmas and holidays are left out because there is enough warmth to go around without them.  This means that it is a book all about winter without a Christmas tree, so that it can be used in diverse communities without offense.  This book has a warmth of its own and should be considered another joy of the chilly season.  Share it with children from toddlers to preschoolers.  I can see it leading to discussions of what makes their own winters warm and special, perhaps an art project using warm and cool colors.