Sunday, 29 June 2014

Hope & Persistence

Some interesting debate around the Carnegie Medal again this year. The Bunker Diary has been described as bleak and without hope, Room meets Lord of the Flies. It seems to be the lack of a happy ending that persuades some adults of its inappropriateness for children. Author,  Kevin Brooks says that children don't need to be 'cosseted with the artificial hope that there will always be a happy ending' because in real life often there isn't. Discuss.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

José Patterson, The Peoples Choice!

Many Congratulations to José Patterson, long serving SCBWI member and second runner up in the People's Book Prize for her novel No Buts Becky! It's inspirational how José, now in her eighties, has worked to find success with her story and that her affirmation comes from the most important people in publishing - the readers. Over to José...

Friday, 27 June 2014

Quentin who? One illustrator’s late-in-life discovery of the great Quentin Blake

From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Can you imagine going through life and not knowing who Quentin Blake or Roald Dahl is? SCBWI BI member Heather Chapman recalls her discovery of illustrator Quentin Blake at the ripe age of 32 and shares what she’s learned from studying Blake’s work.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Proofreading Tips: Americanisms

Catriona Tippin

Here’s a look at American English. We’re celebrating Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s 50th anniversary so this is a salute to Mike Teavee and Violet Beauregarde - cast as Americans in the film adaptations. 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 24th June

I spent most of Saturday running the second-hand book stall at our school fete. It probably won't surprise you that parents constantly go gaga for the books they read as kids, while their children actually want the recent books with cool covers!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Creature Feature: The Unicorn

by Ken Lymer
The symbol of the unicorn has many guises that have inspired writers and artists since the early Middle Ages. Its name derives from the Latin word unicornis, ‘one horn’, and in early medieval texts it was referred to as a unicorne or vnykorn. Traditionally, the medieval unicorn is goat, ass or small horse with a horn on its forehead, but it was transformed in heraldic iconography into a fierce white steed with a spiral horn, goat’s beard, cloven hooves and lion's tail.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Lots of Brilliant Stuff

Well I've had an exciting week, hobnobbing with publishers and Rowena House (celebrated for the publication of  her War Girls  story only yesterday) recording more Ask a Publisher podcasts. So indebted to Sara O' Connor who introduced us to some of the major players in children's publishing.
We have a summer ( and then some) of enlightening listening for you. The next podcast is up a week on monday. Come back next Sunday to find out who...

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Congratulations to Rowena for winning a place in War Girls!

This week, we're thrilled to raise our glasses to our Words & Pictures interviewer extraordinaire Rowena House, whose short story The Marshalling of Angelique's Geese won a competition run by Andersen Press at Bath Spa University. To her delight - and ours! - Rowena's story has been included in the anthology War Girls, where she rubs shoulders with some very well known YA authors.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Featured Illustrator: Paul Morton

This month's Featured Illustrator is well known SCBWI member and Words & Pictures contributor Paul Morton. A familiar face at Conferences, Paul has been a professional illustrator for many years, working on a wide range of media through his Hot Frog Graphics studio. See more of Paul's work here in the Featured Illustrator Gallery!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 17th June

Does Tuesday really come around incredibly quickly, or is it just me? Mind you, after a frenzied weekend it's rather nice for me to sit down and go through the SCBWI blogs, then share the best of them with you.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Roald Dahl the inventor - an inspiration piece

Willy Wonka
‘Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple.’ 

Willy Wonka in the 1971 film of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl 

This month’s ‘Words & Pictures’ celebrates the genius that was Roald Dahl on the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In this inspiration piece, I want to focus on just one aspect of this far-from-cuddly but many-faceted man – his inventiveness. 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Opportunities, Sheds and a Great Comedian Reads Dahl

I'm pleased to say there's been another healthy crop of entries for our second Chalkface Challenge. So grateful for Nick's Blog Break shout out! At the time of writing there's still a small window of opportunity to enter - deadline: 12pm today Sunday 15th June.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Bridget's Big Draw

We're very excited on Words & Pictures today to have Bridget Strevens-Marzo here with us to share her recent publishing success. Bridget writes

"It is good to be back writing as well as illustrating.  Even better to have a couple of book contracts after a gap, a change of life and location. My next French book is out with Bayard this September and in May 2015 I have another book due out in the UK."

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Happy 50th Birthday Charlie Bucket

Karen Hart

I’m 52 and it feels like the book has permeated much of my life over its 50 whipple-scrumptious years.

I saw a delicious tribute the other day at Waterstone’s Piccadilly:  an amazing creation of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, made with 200kg of sugar, by the awesome Biscuiteers. I loved the way it filled the window; for passers-by to press their noses against the glass much as Charlie does early in the book, 'his mouth watering like mad.'

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 10th June

Hello Blog Breakers, I hope I'm not distracting you from the breakdancing baboons and singing goldfish that are doubtless populating your entries for our marvelous Chalkface Challenge? Remember you only have until Sunday to enter!

Monday, 9 June 2014

My Little Hut

As part of our celebrations for the fiftieth birthday of Charlie and Chocolate Factory, Sandra Greaves takes a peek into Roald Dahl’s famous writing hut. 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

A Week with Publishers

Very exciting - entries for the Chalkface Challenge are rolling in. In this competition everyone's a winner. Last year's entrants loved receiving comments from the children who judged. I'm sure the published among us can relate to how wonderful it is to receive a handwritten note from a child who's read your words. Isn't getting your story into the hands and head of a child or young person what it's all about?

Results - Slush Pile Challenge April 2014

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Farmer Falgu is far away from home!

It's a joy to celebrate with our Slush Pile Challenge Editor, Chitra Soundar on her UK launch of  Farmer Falgu Goes on a Trip! Thank you Chitra for some beautiful photos from India and Streatham! Many Congratulations on Farmer Falgu and two marvellous events. Over to Chitra..

Friday, 6 June 2014


Harry's Horse dummy
Generating a following and identifying a specific market for your book can be a challenging process. This week, author and illustrator Gillian McClure examines her experiences running a small press.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Ask a Picture Book Editor

So, you’ve found your UNIVERSAL theme, and you’ve created your 
child-centred characters, now:

Think about the tone and pitch of your writing

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 3rd June

Katrina Charman was complaining recently about how much time she spends reading the Blog Break when she should be writing. Sorry, Katrina - perhaps you should look away now as this week's installment is chock-full of procrastination opportunities!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Chalkface Challenge: Introducing the Judges

The Chalkface Challenge

The Shadow Judges…

So many things... tell you so I'm going to attempt super efficiency.
Thank you again to the lovely Katrina for stepping in and stepping up last week.
It's a new month, so it's a new theme: Charlie Bucket is fifty! More on that later.
And there's a new Ask a Publisher podcast on Monday, That's TOMORROW, people!