Happy Travelling – Games to keep children occupied

School holidays are upon us once again and for some that will mean the dreaded long car journey, whether you are off on holiday or travelling around the country to see family and friends.  Entertaining children and even adults on long journeys has changed dramatically since I was a child, with the advent of electrical devices such as portable DVD players, iPads & tablets as well as DS’s etc.

However there are many other great games that can be used to occupy but to be successful you do need to be prepared.  Items you will need are paper, pens/pencils and a clipboard.

Here are some of favourite travel games:-

Bingo

This can vary in difficulty depending on the age of the children, for younger children use pictures or colours and when playing with older children write a description.  Also items will vary depending on your route; motorways are tricky as there is not always a lot of variance in the passing scenery.

Good things to look for are:-

look_out_forDraw up a small grid of 3 x 3 boxes (or larger if you wish) then add the pictures or descriptions in each box, if you want to be really clever you be prepared and make a few different versions on a PC before you set off.

We have even played this when travelling in convoy with other family groups, each car had the same bingo clues and it’s a competition to see which car found all the items first.  It’s amazing how many hours you can fill.

Create a Story Game

We love this game in our car and play it on the school run as well as long journeys.  This game involves creating a story in a round, each person devises a small section of the story and this can go on for as long or as short a time as you want.  So one person starts it, for example:-

Person 1 One day a little boy was going on holiday to a far off land.

Person 2 To get there he needed to travel on a train but this was no ordinary train.

Person 3 This train could travel though things like mountains and seas.

And this keeps going until you choose to bring it to a close.  It is a great way for everyone to use their imagination, storytelling and listening skills; stories can be as creative or as nonsensical as you wish.  My husband has a random character called Malcolm the Mole who pops up in every story regardless of whether he is relevant or not and the children normally end up in fits of giggles.

Boxes

Boxes, Squares or the Dot game as it can be known.  This game needs a minimum of two players and can be impromptu or prepared. Paper, pens and a hard surface like a clipboard are needed for this one; firstly you need to create a large square made up of small boxes made of dots with a dot in each corner, difficult to explain so let me show you:-

block_game
Begin with this grid
block_game_filled_in
This is how the game starts to look

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For children you would want to use a grid about half the size, the aim of the game is to Win a box. Each player takes in turns to draw a line between 2 dots,  to start with the game is just a lot of random lines until, eventually you run out of free lines and start creating boxes, the aim is the one to finish the box and then add your initial to the middle of the box. The winner is the person who has the most initials on the sheet.

Happy Travels and for more ideas and templates have a look at our Pinterest board www.pinterest.com/woodofwords/travel-games

The Winners of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2014 are…

waterstones children book prizeThe winners of the Waterstones Children Book Prize were officially announced on the 3rd April at a reception at Waterstones flagship Piccadilly store. The prize awards new and emerging talent in children’s writing and is unique in that it is voted for solely by Waterstones Children’s booksellers. Each category winner receives £2000 with the overall winner chosen from the three receiving an additional £3000.

The winners of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2014 are…

Best Fiction for 5-12’s and the Overall Winner

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Rooftoppers

My mother is still alive, and she is going to come for me one day.

Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck which left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive, but that means still possible. You should never ignore a possible.

So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has – the address of the cello maker.

Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers – urchins who live in the sky. Together they scour the city for Sophie’s mother before she is caught and sent back to London and most importantly before she loses hope.

Best Picture Book Winner

Open Very Carefully written by Nick Bromley and Illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne

open carefullyWhat would you do if you were settling down for a quiet bedtime story and you realised that a crocodile had fallen into your storybook and was – not to put too fine a point on it – furious? Would you slam that book shut, cram it in the bookshelf for evermore or would you be brave enough to peek?

 

Best Book for Teens

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

geek girl

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek.”

Harriet Manners knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. She knows that bats always turn left when exiting a cave and that peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

But she doesn’t know why nobody at school seems to like her.

So when Harriet is spotted by a top model agent, she grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her best friend’s dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of impossibly handsome model Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

Veering from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, Harriet begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn’t seem to like her any more than the real world did.

As her old life starts to fall apart, will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

Congratulations to the winners and to all the other books that made the shortlists!

SLA Information Book Award Shortlist Announced!

IBA-illus-WEBThe Information Book Award is an annual event currently in its fourth year. The award celebrates information books and is designed to support school libraries and reinforce the importance of non-fiction whilst highlighting the high standard of resources available.

The award is split into three different categories: under 7’s, 7-12 and 12-16. The judging panel consists of experienced librarians, SLA Board members and a member of Peters Bookselling Services. Schools will be invited to take part in the Children’s Choice voting from June to mid-September. Each section will have a winner, chosen by the panel, as well as a children’s choice winner. There will also be an overall winner, awarded to the best information book across all categories.

The 2014 Shortlist is as follows:

Under 7’s

Questions and Answers about your Body, lift the Flap by Katie Daynes, illustrated by Marie-Eve Tremblay (Usborne Publishing)
The Story of Stars by Neal Layton (Hodder)
What’s it like to be a Bee by Jinny Johnson (Franklin Watts)

7-12 

Book of Languages by Mick Webb, illustrated by Glen McBeth (Franklin Watts)
Bugs by George McGavin, illustrated by Jim Kay (Walker Books)
Get into Art: Animals by Susie Brooks (Kingfisher)
Secrets of Stonehenge by Mick Manning and Brita Granström (Frances Lincoln)

12-16

How to Draw like a Fashion Designer by Dennis Norhdruft & Celia Joicey (Thames and Hudson)
Starving the Anxiety Gremlin by Kate Collins-Donnelly, illustrated by Rosy Salaman (Jessica Kingsley)
Weird Sea Creatures by Eric Hoyt (Firefly Books)

The award ceremony in scheduled to take place in autumn 2014. Make sure to look back on our website to find out when the winners will be announced!

The Award Voted for by the Teachers!

ukla_300x300The UKLA Book Award 2014 is decided for by the teachers. This year 55 teachers from schools in Sussex are judges for the unique UKLA Book Awards.

UKLA is a registered charity, which has as its sole object the advancement of education in literacy. UKLA is committed to promoting good practice nationally and internationally in literacy and language teaching and research. The Association was founded in 1963 as the United Kingdom Reading Association. In 2003 it changed its name to the United Kingdom Literacy Association, to reflect more accurately its wider range of concerns.

The shortlists have been divided into three age categories, all of which have a strong international flavour. Teacher judges clearly demonstrate that they want a more exciting and varied diet of quality texts to be available to young readers in the UK than can be seen on the average high street.

The 2014 Shortlist is as follows:

3-6

Open Very Carefully by Nick Bromley and illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne (Nosy Crow)
Don’t Spill the Milk by Stephen Davies and illustrated by Christopher Corr (Andersen Press)
This is Not My Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen (Walker Books)
Monkey Nut written and illustrated by Simon Rickerty (Simon and Schuster)
The Dark  by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen (Orchard)
How to Hide a Lion written and illustrated by Helen Stephens (Scholastic)

7-11

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Random House Children’s Publishers)
The Naming of Tishkin Silk by Glenda Millard and illustrated by Caroline Magerl (Phoenix Yard Books)
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (Faber and Faber)
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead (Andersen Press)
The Last Wild by Piers Torday (Quercus)
The Story of the Blue Planet by Andri Snaer Magnason, illustrated by Áslaug Jónsdótti and translated by Julian Meldon D’Arcy (Pushkin Press)

12-16

The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks (Puffin)
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner and illustrated by Julian Crouch (Hot Key Books)
Monkey Wars by Richard Kurti (Walker Books)
The Positively Last Performance by Geraldine McCaughrean (Oxford University Press)
The Wall by William Sutcliffe (Bloomsbury)
Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams (Random House Children’s Publishers)

The three winners will be announced on July 4th during the 50th UKLA International Conference at the University of Sussex. Make sure to look back on the website on July 4th to find out who are crowned the winners!

The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards Shortlist Announced!

 

CKG_CMYK_portraitThe Shortlist has finally been announced!

The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway awards are often referred to as the award the authors ‘want to win’. The shortlists of authors and illustrators who are in the running to win the prestigious awards have finally been revealed.

The eight authors who are in the running for the CILIP Carnegie medal 2014 are as follows:

All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry (Templar)
The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks (Penguin)
The Child’s Elephant by Rachel Campbell-Johnston (David Fickling Books)
Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper (Bodley Head)
Blood Family by Anne Fine (Doubleday Children’s Books)
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (Faber & Faber)
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead (Andersen Press)
The Wall by William Sutcliffe (Bloomsbury)

Along with the seven illustrators who are in the running for the Kate Greenaway award 2014:

The Paper Dolls by Rebecca Cobb (illustrator) and Julia Donaldson (author)(Macmillan Children’s Books)
Where My Wellies Take Me by Olivia Lomenech Gill (illustrator) and Clare and Michael Morpurgo (authors)(Templar)
The Day the Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffers (illustrator) and Drew Daywalt (author) (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (Walker Books)
The Dark by Jon Klassen (illustrator) and Lemony Snicket (author) (Orchard Books)
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David McKean (illustrator) and David Almond (author) (Walker Books)
Oliver by Birgitta Sif (Walker Books)

Congratulations to all the authors and illustrators for making the shortlist. The winners will be announced on the official website on Monday 23rd June 2014.

homebutton_2014_shadowing_ann

The Winners of the Blue Peter Book Award 2014 are…

Blue-Peter-Book-Award-Logo--e1386331799183The Blue Peter Book Award winners have been announced. For the second year, there were two categories – the Best Story and the Best Book with Facts. The awards were voted for by over 200 children from 10 schools across the UK who have read and shortlisted their favourites in both categories.

And the winner of the Best Story award 2014 is…

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

My mother is still alive, and she is going to come for me one day.

Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck which left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive, but that means still possible. You should never ignore a possible.

So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has – the address of the cello maker.

Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers – urchins who live in the sky. Together they scour the city for Sophie’s mother before she is caught and sent back to London and most importantly before she loses hope.

Along with the winner of the Best Book with Facts award 2014:

Weird World of Wonders – World War II by Tony Robinson

Tony Robinson takes you on a headlong gallop through time, pointing out all the most important, funny, strange, amazing, entertaining, smelly and disgusting bits about World War II! Its history, but not as we know it! Find out everything you need to know in this brilliant, action-packed, fact-filled book, including: – just how useful mashed potato is – how the Battle of Britain was won – what it takes to be a spy – how D-Day was kept a surprise.

Congratulations to the winners and all the other books that were shortlisted for both awards!

World Book Day 2014

world book day button It’s that time of the year again, the one day of the year where children of all ages will come together to appreciate reading. World Book Day, organised by UNESCO, is an annual celebration where every child in full-time education is given a token to spend on a book.

Currently in its 17th year, World Book Day is becoming increasingly more popular. Last year over 1.2 million World Book Day tokens were redeemed. This year, they are hoping to beat this figure.

How do the children use the token?

Once the children receive their voucher, they can take their voucher to their local bookstore and can either swap the voucher for one of the ten £1 World Book Day books or if they’d prefer, they can use their book token to get £1 off any full price book that would normally cost over £2.99. Audio books can also be bought with the voucher. The children have just under a month to use their tokens. The redemption period of the World Book Day tokens is: 3rd March – 30th March 2014.

Here is a list of the ten books that can be swapped and bought for free with the book token:

Age 2+

Hello Hugless Douglas by David Melling (Hodder Children’s Books)
Little Book Day Parade by Emily Gravett (Macmillan Children’s Books)

Age 5+

Barry Loser: I Am Not Nit A Loser by Jim Smith (Egmont)
Fun with the Worst Witch by Jill Murphy (Puffin)

Age 7+

The Midnight Picnic: A Laura Marlin Mystery by Lauren St John (Orion)
Horrible Histories: Terrible Trenches by Terry Deary and Martin Brown

Age 9+

Middle School: How I Got Lost in London by James Patterson (Young Arrow)
Jack Pepper by Sarah Lean (Harper Collins)

Young Adults

Rock War: The Audition by Robert Muchamore (Hodder Children’s Books)
The Boy in the Smoke by Maureen Johnson (Hot Key Books)

Alternatively you can also use your token to get £1 off any full price book over £2.99.

For more information, visit the World Book Day website.

This year World Book Day is running a prize draw in order to celebrate 50 years since Roald Dahl wrote his ingenious story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You could win one of five VIP Family trips to see the brand new West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory along with other exciting VIP experiences. Visit the website for more information on how you can enter this exciting prize draw and hopefully be in with a chance of winning this amazing experience.

Don’t forget to use your token and celebrate World Book Day 2014 along with everyone else. Pop down to your local bookstore and pick up a book… Happy Reading!

The Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize Shortlist 2014!

waterstones children book prizeThe Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize is an award given to a children’s book that was published in the previous year. This award is only received by authors who have specifically published no more than three books. In 2012, the prize was split into three categories: Best Picture Book, Best Fiction for 5-12’s and Best Book for Teens.

The prize was created to award new and upcoming writers in children’s literature and is voted for entirely by Waterstone’s Children’s booksellers. The winning books and authors will be announced on 3rd April when the category winners will receive £2,000 and the overall winner given an additional £3,000.

Here are the lists of the short-listed nominees who are in the running to win the award within the three separate categories:

Best Picture Book:

Open Very Carefully by Nick Bromley and Nicola O’Byrne (Nosy Crow)
Harold Finds a Voice by Courtney Dicmas (Child’s Play International)
Weasels by Elys Dolan (Nosy Crow)
Penguin in Peril by Helen Hancocks (Templar)
Time for Bed, Fred! by Yasmeen Ismail (Bloomsbury)
The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino (Macmillan Children’s Books)

Best Fiction for 5-12’s:

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill (Random House Children’s Books)
Shiverton Hall by Emerald Fennell (Bloomsbury)
The Skull in the Wood by Sandra Greaves (Chicken House)
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (Faber and Faber)
The Last Wild by Piers Torday (Quercus)

Best Book for Teens:

The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale (Faber and Faber)
Butter by Erin Lange (Faber and Faber)
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch (Orion)
Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter (Hot Key Books)
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (Penguin)
Geek Girl by Holly Smale (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

The winners will be announced on the 3rd April at a reception at Waterstone’s Piccadilly.

The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards Longlist Nominations Announced!

CKG_CMYK_portraitThe CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards are prestigious awards that give recognition to the UK’s best children authors and illustrators. As written on the website, it is often referred to as the award the authors ‘want to win’. On February 4th 2014, the long-list of nominees was officially announced.

The CILIP Carnegie award is specifically given by children’s libraries to author’s who have written an outstanding new book for children. The Carnegie award was established in 1936, in memory of Scottish-born philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The Kate Greenaway award is also specifically given by children’s libraries for a book with outstanding illustration for children and young people. The Kate Greenaway award was established in 1955 and named after the 19th century children’s illustrator, Kate Greenaway.  The shortlist of nominees will be announced on the 15th March 2014 with the winners being revealed at the start of the summer in June.

Here are the following nominees which may be eligible to be shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Award:

The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond (Walker Books)
All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry (Templar)
The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks (Penguin)
The Child’s Elephant by Rachel Campbell-Johnston (David Fickling Books)
Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper (Bodley Head)
After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross (Oxford University Press)
Heroic by Phil Earle (Penguin)
Blood Family by Anne Fine (Doubleday Children’s Books)
Infinite Sky by C. J. Flood (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books)
Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn (Electric Monkey)
Monkey Wars by Richard Kurti (Walker Books)
Hostage Three by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
The Positively Last Performance by Geraldine McCaughrean (Oxford University Press)
Brock by Anthony McGowan (Barrington Stoke)
Binny for Short by Hilary McKay (Hodder Children’s Books)
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Jonathan Cape)
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher (Indigo)
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (Faber & Faber)
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead (Andersen Press)
The Wall by William Sutcliffe (Bloomsbury)

Along with the list of nominees eligible to be shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award for illustration:

One Gorilla: A Counting Book by Anthony Browne (Walker Books)
Open Very Carefully by Nicola O’Byrne (illustrator) and Nick Bromley (author) (Nosy Crow)
The Paper Dolls by Rebecca Cobb (illustrator) and Julia Donaldson (author)(Macmillan Children’s Books)
Weasels by Elys Dolan (Nosy Crow)
Puss Jekyll Cat Hyde by Jill Barton (illustrator) and Joyce Dunbar (author) (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books)
Time for Bed, Fred! by Yasmeen Ismail (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
The Day the Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffers (illustrator) and Drew Daywalt (author) (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
The Dark by Jon Klassen (illustrator) and Lemony Snicket (author) (Orchard Books)
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (Walker Books)
Where My Wellies Take Me by Olivia Lomenech Gill (illustrator) and Clare and Michael Morpurgo (authors)(Templar)
Mysterious Traveller by P. J Lynch (illustrator) and Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham (authors) (Walker Books)
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David McKean (illustrator) and David Almond (author) (Walker Books)
The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino (Macmillan Children’s Books)
The Journey Home by Frann Preston-Gannon (Pavilion Children’s Books)
Abigail by Catherine Rayner (Little Tiger Press)
The Lemur’s Tale by Ophelia Redpath (Templar)
Oliver by Birgitta Sif (Walker Books)
Jemmy Button by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali (illustrators) and Alix Barzelay (author) (Templar)
Too Noisy! by Ed Vere (illustrator) and Malachy Doyle (author) (Walker Books)
Sidney, Stella and the Moon by Emma Yarlett (Templar)

If you have not as of yet read any of the books that are nominated then what are you waiting for? Head down to your local library or book store and have a browse. You never know the book you pick up could end up being the winner!

2014_nominations_announced

The Only National Book Award Voted For By Children!

Red House Children's Book Award LogoThe Red House Children’s Book Awards is all left in the hands of the children. It is their nominations that make up the short-list for this unique award along with the decision of who is to be crowned the winner. This specific award is divided into three categories: Books for Younger Children, Books for Younger Readers and Books for Older Readers.

The Red House Children’s Book Award was founded in 1980 by Pat Thompson, a member of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups to celebrate the books that are loved and read by the children.

The 2014 shortlist is as follows:

Younger Children

  • Walter and the No-Need-To-Worry Suit by Rachel Bright (HarperCollins)
  • Superworm by Julia Donaldson (Scholastic Ltd)
  • How to Hide a Lion by Helen Stephens (Scholastic)
  • Hippopotamus by Jeanne Willis (Andersen Press Ltd)

Younger Readers

  • The Land of Neverbelieve by Norman Messenger (Walker Books Ltd)
  • Atticus Claw Breaks the Law by Jennifer Gray (Faber and Faber)
  • Claude in the Country by Alex T.Smith (Hachette Children’s Books)

Older Readers

  • Killing Rachel by Anne Cassidy (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC)
  • W.A.R.P: The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer (Penguin Books Ltd)
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Penguin Books Ltd)

The winner will be revealed on the 22nd February. Make sure to look back on our website on Monday 24th February to find out who is crowned the winner!