Tuesday, 15 April 2014

3D review - The Dawn Chorus - Suzanne Barton - editor review

Fiz Osborne  is Senior Editor of picture books, novelty and eBooks at Bloomsbury Children's Books and is editor of debut author/illustrator Suzanne Barton's picture book 'The Dawn Chorus', which we are featuring as our 3D review for April.

What was your favourite children’s book as a child?

There were a few! Ramsbottom Rag by Christopher Masters, Roald Dahl’s Matlida and George’s Marvellous Medicine, the Heidi books by Joanna Spyri and Beyond the Rolling River by Kate Andrew and Chris Riddell. I didn’t actually own lots of books, but I was constantly borrowing from my local library.

What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?

I love any book by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie, and Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes is a firm favourite. Aaaarrgghh, Spider! by Lydia Monks is another book after my own heart and I am in love with anything by Yasmeen Ismail, especially Time For Bed, Fred!, If I Had a Cat and Specs For Rex.

What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?

They can challenge, excite, help, stimulate, and effect us so strongly – in a way that nothing else can – and that is exactly what I think makes children’s books inspirational.

What is it that you like most about picture books?

The way that the perfect balance between story and illustrations creates a little bit of magic. Anything can happen in a book. That’s quite fantastic.

What do you love about this book and what makes it stand out?

I love how Suzanne’s illustrations sing out from the pages. Her story is almost like a lullaby, surrounded by beautifully detailed, characterful illustrations that are incredibly endearing. The Dawn Chorus feels very special, there’s nothing else quite like it.

How many people have worked on this book and for how long?

So many people! I mean, in the confines of the Bloomsbury picture books team there was an editor (me) and a designer working with Suzanne. But while the book evolves, the Bloomsbury children’s team works hard to support it. Marketing, publicity, sales, rights, production . . . Every book has the entire team behind it.

Time-wise, the average picture book takes about 18 months-2 years to be published.

What made you want to work in children’s publishing?

I just love children’s books. I can still remember the excitement I’d feel when my dad read me bedtime stories as a child, and I can also remember quite clearly how it felt to read Harry Potter for the first time. I naturally gravitated towards children’s publishing and I’m very passionate about what I do. There’s a little piece of my heart that I set aside for each book that I work on.

Friday, 11 April 2014

3D Review - The Dawn Chorus - Suzanne Barton - author interview

Suzanne Barton's delightful debut picture book 'The Dawn Chorus' is published by Bloomsbury April 2014 and is about a tiny bird who can't ever seem to wake up in time to join the Dawn Chorus. 

Suzanne's illustrations formed the basis of a spectacular window at Mostly Books where children decorated birds to produce a whole flock to join the Dawn Chorus. The result was stunning - Thank you Suzanne! And also thank you to Bloomsbury who set the whole thing up.

Suzanne worked on the book when she studied for an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art.
What was your favourite children’s book as a child?

Can I pick more than one? Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh and anything by Noel Streatfeild. But when I was very young Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever.

What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?

A Hole is to Dig by Ruth Krauss illustrated by Maurice Sendak. It captures what it is to be a child.

What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?

Anything is possible in a story, you can identify with the characters and go anywhere, do anything.

Do you see yourself as an illustrator that writes or a writer that illustrates?

An illustrator that writes.

How did you become a writer / illustrator?

I always wanted to make pictures, but when I was young I thought I wasn’t good enough because there were so many things that I couldn’t draw straight out of my head like motor bikes and horses. But then I gradually realised that you could look at things and practise and get better. So I studied, eventually ending up on a fantastic MA in Children’s Book Illustration in Cambridge, where I started working on my first story, The Dawn Chorus.

What comes first, the ideas for pictures or the text?

For The Dawn Chorus the story idea came first together with some clear pictures in my head that I wanted to make. I think they evolve together which is the great thing about having the opportunity to both write and illustrate.

Which do you like most, the writing or the illustrating?

I love illustrating. Writing is a more recent activity for me, but I am fascinated by what makes a really good story. I have a lot to learn and studying storytelling is a great excuse to collect even more books.

Suzanne finished a hectic day at Mostly Books with a book signing - something she will have to get used to!

And was kind enough to draw us a picture to offer as a prize.

The next part of our 3D Review will be an interview with Suzanne's editor at Bloomsbury who we asked what makes Suzanne's work so special.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

3D review - The Dawn Chorus - Suzanne Barton - review

Out today is 'The Dawn Chorus' by Suzanne Barton - and she is celebrating the launch at Mostly Books by designing a whole window based on the book.

Tiny little Peep is drawn to the sound of beautiful singing. He adores singing and discovers all the birds join together to create the magical, beautiful music of the dawn chorus. Peep longs to be part of it, but finds it a struggle to get up at dawn to join them.

Will Peep ever be able to be like other birds and create such wonderful music?

Suzanne Barton's debut book 'The Dawn Chorus' is a charming story, with such sweet illustrations, full of brightly coloured birds and tiny details, like the leaves on the trees being multi-hued.
I love all the movement that covers the page - from tiny mice trying to help Peep find his way, to all the expressions of the birds as they sing.

Although full of colour, I also like the way Suzanne manages this without a blaze of primary colours, which I think makes this illustrated picture book a little different.
I also like the fact that there is a subtle message in the story that not all of us are morning people, but that we can all find a way to be part of things in our own way.
A really outstanding debut. And thank you, Suzanne, for such a splendid day at Mostly Books and for producing such a fabulous window.

Friday, 4 April 2014

…Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday Space on the Bookshelf, and thank you to you all!

It comes as utter shock to all atSpace on the Bookshelf team that a year as come and past, and that Space on the Bookshelf turns one today! It’s been a fantastic year, and Space on the Bookshelf, has done its best to fill any spaces left on bookcases by bringing you reviews, interviews and articles on fantastic books plus the world of children’s literature and the dedicated people who work within it to get children reading.

So here is our little Birthday review of the first year of Space on the Bookshelf…

Our popular 3D reviews which examine and celebrate quality books from multi-perspective with in depth reviews from adult and child reviewers, in addition to interviews with the authors and editors and a focus on what makes the book so unique and special.

These have been a real highlight, and we’ve had some real corkers, our first 3D review which was posted a year ago today looked at Mo O’Hara’s debut My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, which has since gone on to be a NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! We’ve also 3D reviewed and championed the Blue Peter Book Awards winner Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, and many other fantastic books, so a BIG thank you to all the authors, editors and publicists who worked with us to make them happen…

Another highlight of our first year included our Carnegie Shadowing, where we reviewed each of the short-listed titles and asked the authors what was their favourite thing about their books. We also ran a very popular giveaway of many of the short-listed title, and correctly predicted the winning book Maggot Moon by Sally Gardiner. We will be shadowing this year’s short list so watch this space!

One of our most read articles of 2013 was Nicki’s wonderful interviews with one of the Judge of last year’s BBC Radio 2’s 500 Word Competition George Kirk, and with a long-listed child who got down from the 90,000 entries to the last 3,000. This piece gave a lovely insight in the world of children’s writing competitions, juxtaposing both sides of the experience.

Our Christmas Book in Every Stocking feature, where we asked authors, bloggers, editors and readers to write a letter to Santa to recommend a stocking filler book, was great fun to, and well worth a look if you’re stuck for present ideas for a small person (any time of the year!)

Interviews, we've had the pleasure of interviewing some great authors, and children’s literature ambassadors in our first year, from the fantastic, Charlie Higson, to the lovely Tracey Corderoy, plus the very moving interview with book crosser Janice Markey, and only last week the interview with Bea Longworth founder of Book App company Freed Fiction.

All in all we've had a great first year, and we pride ourselves at being able to spot and champion really great books, this is further proved by the success that many of the 3D reviewed titles have gone on to achieve like River Singers, which has been long listed for the 2014 Branford Boase Award. Dave Cousins Waiting for Gonzo, which has been short-listed for The Coventry Best Book Award, The Essex Book Award, the Notting brilliant Book Award, and many many more. The amazing My Big Fat Zombie Gold fish which made The New York Bestsellers list. Katherine Rundell’s, Roof toppers which is Shortlisted for the Carnegie and won the Blue Peter Book Award. Anthony McGowan straight talking Brock, that was long-listed for the Carnegie. So Congratulations to all these uber-talented writers, and good luck for any ongoing awards!

To round up it has been a fantastic first year, and we’re looking forward to year two, but finally before we go, we need to say a BIG...


...to everyone who has contributed, read, and supported Space on the Bookshelf, because we couldn't have done it without you!

WIN a Space on the Bookshelf Party Bag!

To Celebrate we're giving away some party bags all with books and surprises!  We have on offer...

1 x YA Party Bag
1 x MG Party Bag
1 x Young Readers Party Bag
1 x Picture Book Party Bag

for a chance to win  Just tweet to @BookshelfSpace or e-mail SpaceOnTheBookshelf@yahoo.com  saying #SOBSPartyBag, and tell us which bag you'd like to win!