Reasons to be Cheerful

For ages we've been hearing that we're in a very tough market, people who might have been snapped up ten years ago, are very much unsnapped in 2014. But this week there were three pieces of news that declared loud and clear that children's books is where it's at.

  'Almost All the Books People Say Influenced Them Were Written for Children' 

… says Mother Jones, based on the findings of a recent Facebook status update.  It's a high calling to write for younger readers. To inspire, encourage to aspire,  and potentially to turn non readers into readers all bear the weight of responsibility. Young minds are not referred to as 'formative' for nothing. Harry P. came out as most influential and I'm pleased; JKR turned my children into readers.

'Young read more books than older generation, research finds'

…says The Guardian from data compiled by Pew Research Internet Project. The young in question are young Americans but it's fair to assume that we may find the same in the UK. Young people also prefer print books. They've grown up with digital and according to some young people I know, it's boring. If they're on a device it's more likely to be a phone or a tablet rather than a kindle. Only yesterday my youngest daughter (19yrs) was in the garden with two of her friends poring over her new smartphone and an old suitcase…of books.

3 'Children's market 10% up on 2013'

…says The Bookseller about the children's market in the UK, making it the fastest growing book sector.  Charlotte Eyre, children's editor at The Bookseller, says 'if the market stays more than 10% ahead of last year’s figures, it is projected to be worth £337m in 2014—the best year the children’s sector will have had since BookScan records began in 1998.'

I'm all smiles.

It's Saturday morning and in an hour's time I'm heading off to The Primary School Visits MasterClass, launching my efforts to get out there as per last Sunday. So here's a quick run down of last week, all beginning with A for Amazing!

  • Amber Caraveo - her and Joanna Moult are launching Skylark Literary in November and you can get a heads up on what rocks Amber's world by listening here.
  • Apps are where it's at too; in the month of motivation and challenge Helen Dineen turns the challenge of digital on its head - can apps inspire print picture books?
  • And we have a flying pig! I love flying pigs, they're so …. unexpected. However it's no surprise that illustrator Anna Violet's work is well out there; it's so much fun. Take a look at her gallery here and see for yourself.
  • Anita Loughrey hits the headlines, today for me, yesterday for you. I love the fact that SCBWI Super Volunteer Anita has outgrown her bookcase. Inspirational, worthy of some great big cheers and perhaps a cocktail or two!

Next week you can look forward to some more of Catriona's proofreading tips, more brilliant blog choices from Nick, revisiting Philippa's inspiration published a week early last Monday (very easy to do believe me) and on Friday, particularly for illustrators, Helz Cuppleditch on branding & licensing.

(Lovely to see everyone at  Jane Clarke's excellent primary school visits masterclass today - thank you Jane. I came away enthused. Great to catch some of Anita's last BookBench hunt; I hope the margaritas were all you wished for!)

Jan Carr

Jan Carr is the editor of Words & Pictures. Her fiction is all over the place, she blogs occasionally and loves to write in magenta. You can contact her at


  1. Oops about the early posting of my piece. I do get so over-enthusiastic sometimes!
    Glad I read this though.

    1. Not a problem at all, Philippa!
      We can enjoy it twice over:)

  2. Fantastic to hear about the "digital natives" throwing off their virtual shackles and celebrating the tangible. Now we just have to sort out all those embarrassing middle-aged people on Facebook ;-)

  3. "Throwing off virtual shackles" sounds so freee!
    Youngest does eschew Facebook but only because she's snapchatting youtubeing redditing etc etc so digitallly all is not lost!

  4. Lovely piece. I am cheered, indeed.

  5. Great to hear such positive news. Thanks for always keeping us so well informed Jan...


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