Ten-Minute Blog Break - 13th January

In the wake of the shocking Paris attacks, this week's column should probably be renamed "The Ten-Minute Freedom of Speech Break". Be warned though, this is one debate that's going to take a lot longer than ten minutes to reach a resolution.

Those looking for books to help them, and their children, understand the world in the wake of this week's events should check out the excellent list by Sita Brahmachari on the Guardian Children's Books site, which includes SCBWI writers such as Miriam Halahmy and Sam Osman.

One of the authors at The Edge uses their weekly blog slot to mount a robust response to the recent violence, arguing for the continued importance of unfettered freedom of speech.

K.M. Lockwood takes a more cautious (but no less thoughtful) approach in her blog post, and focuses on the risk of polarisation in the debate on freedom of expression.

Sarah McIntyre blogged her own detailed reaction to the Charlie Hebdo killings, and voiced her hopes that the events in Paris could ultimately lead to more people around the world taking up cartooning/comics to tell their stories. Commendably, Sarah then wrote a second, even longer post called I Want to Make Cartoons & Comics But I Have No Idea Where to Start, which is full of useful advice on how to make that happen.

As for me, I deliberately haven't weighed in on the subject up till now. But I will say that I identified most strongly with that Joe Sacco comic that Sarah includes in her first blog post - free speech is all very well, but what do we want to achieve with that freedom?

OK, time to leave the weighty topics for something lighter. And what could be lighter than snow? Catherine Friess has a list of snowy picture books to cuddle around while dodging the winter weather outside.

Larisa Villar Hauser has decided to stop juggling and just "be". It all sounds very zen, but it's really a way to cope with being a writer, publisher, translator, mother etc. without going completely mad!

Finally, Liz Flanagan has an interview with someone who "popped over for a cup of tea." That doesn't sound very exciting, until you realise that Liz has Melvin Burgess in her living room! In an entertaining blog post, Melvin talks about the current state of YA and shares some tips on writing for teenagers.


A SCBWI member since 2009, Nick Cross is an Undiscovered Voices winner who writes children's short fiction for Stew Magazine.

On his blog, Nick is thinking about flashbacks, and their use as a narrative device: Flashback to the Future.


  1. Great list - thanks for that!

  2. Much food for thought, thanks Nick. The power of words and pictures - reaching from life-giving, to deadly...


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