What are the most loved children’s or YA books?

How do we adults know what are the most loved children’s books today? In our library I can get statistics on what the boys have borrowed from us but there are quite a few who buy (yes some still buy) their favourites. I can read the top-selling lists but books are often bought by parents, grandparents, etc. Do the “kids” “love” these books? Often the books that win the CBCA awards are not the books chosen by the young people themselves. The Yabba awards and the Inky Awards attest to this. I can get also a feel for what they are reading by talking to the ones who visit us but these two awards try to tap into the thoughts of the young people who are reading.

The YABBA awards are an annual children’s choice book award. There are 4 sections: Picture Story Books; Fiction for Younger Readers; Fiction for Older Readers; Fiction for Years 7 to 9. Young people annually nominate Australian children’s fiction books that have been published in the last ten years to create a short list.  This list is published then everyone can read books from the YABBA short lists. The favourite books are voted for by a specified date in October, (often International Children’s Day).  The winners are announced at the award ceremony where authors and illustrators receive YABBA citations presented by some of those very young people who have voted.

During Term 1 each year children across Victoria are asked to recommend their favourite Australian books to other children by nominating their four favourite Australian titles.

All nominations are collated and the 10 books with the most nominations in each of the award categories are the shortlisted books for that year.  Students are then encouraged to read as many of these books across Term 2 and Term 3 that they can.

All this reading is leading to each student rewarding their very favourite book during the voting process in early Term 4.

2013 nominations:

 Fiction for Year 7-9

Fiction for Older Readers

I also like the idea of the Inky Awards.

The Inkys are international awards for teen literature, voted for online by the readers of insideadog.com.au, and named after the site’s wonder-dog, Inky. There are three awards: the Gold Inky for an Australian book, the Silver Inky for an international book,.  The Inky Awards are for fiction, poetry, and/or anthology books or graphic novels, and can be a work of joint authorship or editorship. The voting is on-line and open between 26 August – 18 October and  anyone aged 12-20 can vote for their favourite.  

2013 nominations:

Gold Inky:

Silver Inky:

In 2011 the following post and infographic was created to try to understand some of the trends in the  children’s books world. I find the timeline interesting and some of the things in the infographic would be a good way to start a conversation with younger readers.

“We have created a both fun and informative infographic, “The Most Loved Children’s Books.” In it, we have recounted our favorite books as a way to celebrate children’s literature throughout the years.” 

Most Loved Children's Books - MAT@USC
Via MAT@USC: Become a Teacher

Useful Links

Quote - New technology is common, new thinking

Book week activity – Book Spine Poetry

We have organised a number of activities for book week this year. Over the past few weeks we have worked with the photography teacher to produce Book Spine Poetry.

One year 10 class and three year 7 classes spent a period in the library looking around the books – fiction and non-fiction – aas well as using the catalogue to put together their verses.

I thought it was a great way to get our boys to look closely at our collection and, in some cases,  they went to shelves they had never looked at before. They also spent time calling up titles in the catalogue and then trying to find them on the shelf. All the time learning about how to find things in the library without realising it.


After talking about the task and showing the boys some examples, they all became totally engrossed in the task. To begin I had collected some titles I thought would make good starting points on trolleys and they used them to get ideas for a story line they wanted to follow. After that the ideas came thick and fast.  The year 7 students really surprised me. Working in pairs, they came up with a lot of “stories” they wanted to tell and found book titles to match. For 75 minutes they were totally engrossed in finding titles. Most of the year 7 boys put created 4-5 book spine verses. The year 10 students took longer to get the stories together and probably were trying for more complexity with their  verses.

The photography teacher used the session to teach the boys how to use the SLR cameras and the year 10 students had to produce clear close-up photos without any flaring due to a flash hitting the book covers.

The competition was open this week for to all students to enter a photo of their poetry onto our library intranet space. After Friday we will print out the photos and display them (as well as making sure everyone knows where the digital copies are) so the college community can have a vote on the ones they like best as well as a panel (including some of our English teachers for a more critical view)

I have put a few of the early examples onto my pinterest board

CBCA 2013 Books of the Year: Winners and runners-up

After several months of speculation the CBCA award winners for 2013 have been announced. The CBCA awards are given to works that are the benchmarks for quality in Australian children’s literature. Even making the short list guarantees that there will be attention given to these works.  In two posts about the 2013 shortlists ( older readers and younger readers) I wrote about these books and offered links to follow up each of them. The books chosen this year were quite varied in their styles and subject matter.

The winners and honour books have a gold medallion put onto the covers and they will be bought by schools for their libraries and their use in classes, public libraries and parents (and relatives) of young people.

The 2013 CBCA Book of the Year awards have been given to the authors and illustrators in the following five categories from older readers to early childhood.



Winner: Sea Hearts  by Margo Lanagan 

Honour books: 


The_children_of_the_kingWinner: Children of the King    by Sonya Hartnett

Honour books: 


Winner: The Terrible Suitcase  by Emma Allen & Freya Blackwood (Illus)  Teacher’s notes have been written for this book

Honour books: 

  • With Nan by Tania Cox  and Karen Blair
  • Too Many Elephants in This House by Ursula Dubosarsky and Andrew Joyner


Winner: The Coat  by Ron Brooks (illus) and Julie Hunt. Also available: Teacher Notes and Teacher reviews 

Honour books:

  • Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon
  • Sophie Scott Goes South by Alison Lester


Winner: Tom the Outback Mailman by Kristin Weidenbach and Timothy Ide. Also available: Teacher Notes 

Honour books:

  • Lyrebird! A True Story  by Jackie Kerin and Peter Gouldthrope
  • Topsy Turvy World: How Australian Animals Puzzled Early Explorers by Kirsty Murray

Ripper: a new (YA) take on an old story

Ripper-smlRipper by Stefan Petrucha offers a new take on a well-known story.

There are many books about Jack the Ripper. Like many others I have always found the topic fascinating and I enjoyed the new take on the tale in this one. In particular I enjoyed the way that both documented history and literary texts have been used to create a suspenseful and dramatic tale of intrigue. It is a very well executed YA mystery that is fast-paced and with plenty of plot twists and turns right up until the end of the story. The end notes include information about the historical aspects of the story and the unique gadgets that may or may not be real. The author’s website has further detail and some great b&w images from the era.

The ending is satisfying but there are also plenty of options for a sequel. I have heard there is one on the way.

The cover, of the edition we have, is also interesting with the map of early New York being torn (or ripped) apart.

The story is set in 1895 New York. Theodore Roosevelt is the head of a terribly corrupt New York Police Department and 14-year-old Carver Young is an orphan living at the Ellis Orphanage. His life is made difficult by the institution bully Finn and his only real friend is the very bright and inquisitive Delia. The decision is made to close the Ellis and move it so they, as the three oldest orphans, must leave the institution and find positions or families. Carver, who relishes the idea of becoming a famous detective, gets “adopted” by a mysterious old man Albert Hawking, who was a famous detective and is now part of a secret society of detectives – The new Pinkertons.  Carver is desperate to find any information about his father and this becomes his first assignment. In addition women from the elite social circles are being murdered and it seems the slasher might just be the famous Jack the Ripper. Carver’s new mentor is on the case and he challenges Carver to use all hits wits and natural skills to assist him. Using all the resources that are available to him in his new position, which include some amazing gadgets and the vast Pinkerton library, the somewhat nefarious skills he learned in the orphanage including lock-picking, and the help of Delia, who has been “adopted” by a newspaper reporter, Carver embarks on a hunt that will change everything about his life, forever. A worrying question soon arises for Carver, is there some link between the terror and his father?

There is a book trailer that I think is interesting but it has a 60’s or 70’s feel rather than one representing the feel of the late 1800’s

Useful Links

Minding your digital manners and staying safe

At the end of another week, as I reflect on some of the work we did with students, it is evident that we need to constantly remind our students about the importance of behaving appropriately when they are in the digital world. Whether it is on their preferred social media sites, sharing information in a class space or looking for information and/or images when conducting some research. Students and some of the teachers really don’t fully understand that everything you say and do online can have an impact on your reputation. This is the case even if something happened a long time ago or you think that you deleted it. The internet is a huge collection of facts and details. Most people would not consider just how much information on you can be found and then the impact that it may have on how you are perceived as a person. There have been a few infographics and a video that I have collected this week. I had some earlier ones up when a colleague came into the library for some information. She saw them and thought they would be really useful to have as she works with a youth group. She had planned to have some sessions about internet safety and bullying but after our talk thought that they should do a number of things around the issue of good digital citizenship. Many people and groups are putting out things to assist people like me to make my students more aware. Below is an infographic from Knowthenet. They maintain a site about all sorts with simple advice, infographics such as the one below and links to other good sites.

Knowthenet presents Manners Matter

Knowthenet presents Manners Matter the online Netiquette Do’s and Don’ts infographic.

The second thing I am sharing is a short video created by some young people to try to explain about how your digital footprint can be damaged by a silly mistake made many years earlier. It is a video that the boys here would laugh at but it would be a good way to get a conversation started.

Thirdly, the video below is aimed at making users more aware of the different ways they can improve their personal information security