The British Isles Chapter of the SCBWI 7th Annual Conference

Cathy Cassidy, Nick Butterworth and Sally Gardner to deliver keynotes at the SCBWI British Isles’ Annual Conference. An exciting new PULSE professional development track specifically aimed at published authors is introduced.
The British Isles Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators
announces speakers for its 7th Annual Conference

The British Isles Chapter of the SCBWI, a professional organisation of writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators, booksellers and others involved with literature for young people, announces a star-studded line-up for their 7th annual conference, to be held on November 1st and 2nd 2014 at the University of Winchester.

Keynote speakers this year are Cathy Cassidy, Nick Butterworth and, for the all-new PULSE strand aimed at published children’s authors, Sally Gardner. Adhering to the theme of Riding the Waves of Change, this year’s SCBWI conference will focus on the changing face of children’s book publishing, offering on the Saturday specialist industry panels with speakers from the very largest houses to representatives of vibrant indies. Additional panels for illustrators and non-fiction writers cover developments in the world of picture books and educational publishing. Published members will be able to participate in a discussion on self-promotion best practices. Saturday evening’s exclusive party will give delegates the chance to celebrate new members’ 2014 publications and network with a stellar list of industry professionals.

Sunday will open with PULSE keynote, Sally Gardner. The rest of the day is devoted to craft intensives and a new PULSE track for published authors and illustrators.

The craft intensives will feature: For writers, everything from how to plot your novel, led by Melvin Burgess, to writing for reluctant readers, led by Anthony McGowan and his Barrington Stoke editor, Mairi Kidd, to crafting a picture book, led by Erzsi Deak and Mike Brownlow, to an intensive for beginners on how to get your precious manuscript published. Illustrators can join in a hands-on craft session on pop-up books. One-to-one manuscript and portfolio reviews with agents and editors will be offered.

The PULSE track will feature a workshop on interview techniques, hosted by BBC presenter, Claire Bolderson, a Twitter Triage, hosted by social media guru, Michelle Goodall, a panel on how to reach schools, hosted by educators and librarians and finally, a workshop on building your online presence with website designer and author, Candy Gourlay.

The SCBWI Annual conference has never before offered such incredible opportunities to both published and unpublished authors to develop their craft, raise their profile and market their work!

Admission to the entire conference is £210 for SCBWI members and £240 for non-members, with a charge of £120 for those members only attending the new PULSE track on the Sunday (£180 for non-members who opt for Sunday-only PULSE). More information and a registration form can be found at our website:

  • Author keynote by Cathy Cassidy, the bestselling author of many novels for children and young teens, including the Chocolate Box Girls series. Cathy trained as an illustrator, once worked as Fiction Editor on the legendary Jackie magazine and also spent twelve years as an agony aunt on pre-teen mag Shout.
  • Illustrator keynote by Nick Butterworth, writer and illustrator of children’s books whose popularity has ensured that, for nearly three decades, he has been featured in the UK bestsellers’ list for picture books. His books have been published in thirty languages worldwide, with international sales in the region of thirteen million. He is almost a permanent fixture on awards short lists, and has won many, including the top award from the Society of Illustrators (for One Snowy Night) and the prestigious Nestlé Gold Award for the critically acclaimed, The Whisperer. He has written and/or illustrated more than sixty titles, and is probably best known for his Percy the Park Keeper series. In 2009 he co-founded Snapper Productions with his son, Ben Butterworth, and his wife, Annette Butterworth. Their first production is based on Butterworth’s books about the friendly alien, Q Pootle 5.
  • PULSE keynote by Sally Gardner, the award winning novelist who has sold over 2 million books in the UK and her work has been translated in to more than 22 languages, Her stories range from retellings of fairy stories for emerging readers, to the Wings & Co series for younger junior age children, through to I, Coriander and Maggot Moon for teenagers, for which she won the prestigious Carnegie Medal and the Costa Children’s Book Prize. Her historical fiction novel for Young Adults, I, Coriander, won the Smarties Children’s Book Prize in 2005. Her action-packed French Revolution thriller The Silver Blade, sequel to The Red Necklace, was shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2009. Actor, Dominic West (‘The Wire’) has bought the film rights to both The Red Necklace and The Silver Blade. Sally Gardner, who is dyslexic, continues to be an avid spokesperson for Dyslexia, working to change the way it is perceived by society.
  • The faculty also includes: Tricia Adams, Librarian, Sam Arthur, Director of Flying Eye Books, Juliette Clare Bell, Author, Natascha Biebow, Author & Editor, Claire Bolderson, Journalist, Commentator & Analyst, Mike Brownlow, Author/Illustrator, Melvin Burgess, Author, Amber Caraveo, Editorial Director of Orion Children’s Books, Catherine Coe, Editor, Rebecca Colby, Author, Joy Court, Librarian, Shannon Cullen, Publisher of Puffin Fiction, Erzsi Deak, Literary Agent, Jude Evans, Publisher of Little Tiger Press, Michelle Goodall, Social Media Consultant, Candy Gourlay, Author, Sara Grant, Author, Penny Holdroyd, Literary Agent, Eric Huang, Development Director of Made in Me, Louise Jackson, Art Director at Walker Books, Mairi Kidd, MD of Barrington Stoke, George Kirk, Educator, Adam Lancaster, Literary Consultant, Anthony McGowan, Author, Kate Nash, Literary Agent, Sara O’Connor, Digital & Editorial Director, Hot Key Books, Scott Pack, Publisher of The Friday Project & Authonomy, Amanda Punter, Publishing Director of Puffin Fiction, Steve Rickard, Publisher of Ransom Publishing, Paul Stickland, Illustrator, Sallyanne Sweeney, Literary Agent, Sophie Thomson, Commissioning Editor at Pearson, Jo Unwin, Literary Agent, Kersti Worsley, Commissioning Editor at OUP.
  • There is an optional critique meet on the evening of Friday 31st October, an open portfolio exhibition on Saturday 1st November and various other competitions for authors and illustrators. Delegates and invited industry guests will be celebrating our members’ 2014 publishing successes at our exclusive party and Mass Book Launch on Saturday night!

    For more information about the conference programme visit:
    Booking deadline is midnight, 17th October 2014.

    About SCBWI:

    SCBWI British Isles is a chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a group form in 1968 by some Los Angeles-based writers for children. It is the only international organisation to offer a variety of services to people who write, illustrate, or share a vital interest in children’s literature. It has over 22,000 members worldwide working in all areas of writing and illustrating for children, from picture books to YA. It is the only professional organisation for those specifically working in mediums of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia, and makes an annual presentation of the Golden and Crystal Kite Awards, the only award presented to children’s book authors and artists by their peers.

    SCBWI British Isles hosts a number of events during the year, from a professional development lecture series to masterclasses and a writing retreat.

    For more information:
    SCBWI British Isles:
    2014 Conference:

    Celebrate Dylan Thomas’ Centenary

    Literature Wales is inviting children and young people from around the world to take part in Dylan’s Great Poem. Anyone aged 7–25 can enter this international online event to help the Developing Dylan 100 project write an epic, 100-line poem in the spirit of the famous Welsh poet. The finished bilingual (English/Welsh) poem will be broadcast on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru and published online.

    Dylan’s Great Poem will be edited by acclaimed Welsh poets Owen Sheers and Mari George. Two-times Wales Book of the Year Award winner and 2012 WRU (Welsh Rugby Union) Artist in Residence, Owen Sheers, will edit Dylan’s Great Poem in English; while Mari George, who has worked as a script writer for the BBC’s Pobol y Cwm and has published her second collection of poetry this year, will edit in Welsh. will be open for contributions to Dylan’s Great Poem for 24 hours from 9.00 am GMT on National Poetry Day, Thursday 2 October 2014. The finished poem will be published online on Monday 6 October. Owen Sheers and Mari George will provide updates on their progress editing Dylan’s Great Poem on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #GreatPoem

    Owen Sheers says “I’m looking forward to seeing what lines of poetry are submitted, and to how they respond to, distil or pick up from the style, themes and poetic devices of Dylan Thomas’ poetry. The editing itself will be quite a challenge but will, I hope, create an intriguing and unique piece of contemporary writing as a fitting tribute to Thomas’ own inventiveness and love of language.”

    Developing Dylan 100 is Literature Wales’ Dylan Thomas-themed educational project, which aims to bring the magic of Dylan Thomas’ words to the children and young people of Wales and beyond, through creative workshops; an international creative writing competition; an online epic poem (Dylan’s Great Poem); and a Dylan Live, a live show of verse, music and hip hop. Developing Dylan 100 is supported by the Welsh Government as an official part of the Dylan Thomas 100 centenary celebrations.

    Teen Librarian Monthly September 2014

    Download (PDF, 352KB)

    Becoming Fierce: Teen Stories IRL

    Becoming Fierce cover_FINAL
    Sometimes it totally sucks being a teen. Trying to fit in, dealing with bullies, a changing body, and the feeling that no one really gets it. It’s hard on the head and often seems like no one else understands.

    That’s what Becoming Fierce is all about. Those not-so-fun times that come with being a teen but also how others have gone through similar things and made it to the other side. New and established Canadian authors share experiences from their teen years that have stuck with them. Some of the stories are dark and heartbreaking while others are light-hearted and grin-worthy. Regardless, they all have something in common: while things may seem like an epic fail now, they do get better.
    Susin Nielsen, author of the award-winning young adult novel The reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, contributes the foreword.

    I remember my teen years with crystal clarity, even though I left them behind 21 years ago today, I had friends and good experiences over those years from 13 to 19, but I can safely say that I did not enjoy them for a lot of the time. It is strange that in life memories of good times are often outshone by memories of negative experiences.

    I was lucky; I survived my teen years and eventually grew into a fully functional adult. Not all young people are as fortunate, almost every week, I seen and hear stories about the toll that drugs, abuse and suicide have on teens; it seems that life demands a heavy toll of young people cut down before their dreams and aims can be realised. It does not end there; those that survive still have to endure a gauntlet of peer pressure, bullying, body shaming and worse.

    Becoming Fierce was not an easy read for me, the stories triggered memories of times that I would much rather forget, and that I think is the point of the collection – not to reawaken old memories but to reach out to young people in similar circumstances through their words and shouting out the message that they need to hear: that they are not alone, the dark times do end!

    I generally judge stories by the effect they have on me, and this collection is powerful indeed.

    khplogo20% of the proceeds raised from the sale of Becoming Fierce will be donated to Kids Help Phone Canada’s only toll-free, 24-hour, bilingual and anonymous phone counselling, web counselling and referral service for children and youth.

    Splintered Light Blog Tour: Young Adults in Prison by Cate Sampson

    splinteredli_paperback_1471115836_300Imagine for a moment that you were in trouble with the police. Perhaps you fell in with the wrong friends, friends who manipulated you into doing things you didn’t really want to do. Or perhaps you got greedy, and found that the quickest way to getting whatever it was you wanted was to nick it. Or perhaps no one had ever taught you that doing some things was just plain wrong. Or perhaps you knew it was wrong, but you wanted to do it anyway, because you thought it would be a laugh. So perhaps it was a surprise when you got arrested, and when they put you on trial in front of a judge. Imagine all that, and then try and imagine what might turn your life around.

    My new book, Splintered Light, is about three teenagers, Leah, Linden and Charlie, who don’t know each other, but whose lives collide dramatically twelve years after Leah’s mother was murdered in a local park. One of these three is a young man called Linden. At 17, he’s about to be released from Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution, where he’s been incarcerated for three years. Linden is scared of what’s waiting for him outside, because the things that turned him into a criminal aged 13 are still waiting for him outside the prison gate. Like many young offenders, Linden is afraid that he has no alternative but to re-offend, and to return to jail. He wants a way out, for good, but he doesn’t know how to find it. To write about Linden, I had to read and think not only about what would happen when he stepped outside those gates, but also what had happened to him inside.

    Last year, inspectors at one prison for young adults found that young inmates often went hungry because their meals were too small. They ate their meals on their own in their cells, often at ridiculous times of day, so that their evening meal was served as early as 4.45. Cells were dirty, mattresses covered in gang-related graffiti, and on average these young people spent 18 hours a day in their cells.

    In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the age of criminal responsibility is 10, which is much lower than many other countries. In Scotland it is 12. In most of the UK, then, a child convicted of a crime between the ages of 10 and 14 will be held in a Secure Children’s Home. Those aged fifteen to 20 will be held in Young Offenders’ Institutions, first as juvenile offenders and then, above the age of 18, as young offenders. At the age of 21, a person convicted of a crime becomes an adult offender and will be held in a regular prison. Everyone seems to know that the system is a catastrophe. Politicians have referred to children being consigned ‘to the scrapheap’, re-offending rates are above 50%, the institutions offer little in the way of education and retraining, and when young people are released their futures are bleak, with little possibility of employment and often no safe home to go to. You’d have thought that there would be hope for children and teenagers, but when people – even children – are shut away, out of sight, then it’s too easy for all of us to turn a blind eye.

    Last month, inspectors reported that one of these prisons for young adults, Glen Parva, was simply ‘not safe’. Three young men had killed themselves there in 15 months, and inspectors reported the prison was rife with bullying and violence. The cells were dirty and ‘poorly ventilated’, for which read smelly, often with no toilet seats on the toilets. Nearly a third of inmates were locked up all day in their cells. One young man, aged 18, killed himself after just two days inside.

    It sounded shocking, but the awful conditions are not new. In 2012, an inspection report on HMYOI Wetherby reported, ‘One boy in the segregation unit with a lifelong medical condition that would have been hard for any teenager to manage, and who had exhibited very disruptive behaviour, asked me tearfully if I could take him home to his mum… A boy in health care, described to me as ‘low’, lay on his bed not speaking. All these boys were receiving good attention and care, but you feared for them all…’

    ‘You feared for them all…’

    It’s not the kind of language you expect from hardened prison inspectors.

    So imagine yourself in the dock, imagine you’ve messed up badly, and then imagine what happens next. Then, since we are free and many are not, perhaps we should raise our voices louder to say this isn’t good enough.

    Cate Sampson

    Dewey Decimal Classification Card Game

    For the past few months I have been tinkering with ways of teaching the Dewey Decimal Classification System to my students in a manner that does not make their eyes glaze over.

    I am a bit of a stereotype as a Librarian inasmuch I love Dewey and what it does, but will admit that to the casual user it can seem a bit complicated andconfusing in places.

    To that end I have designed a card game that can be used from Year 7 and up.
    It is currently called the Dewey Decimal Classification Card Game but that lacks a certain je ne sans quoi, so if anyone comes up with a blinder of a game name please let me know!

    I made test prints to see what they would look like and decided that the cards were a bit too stubby, so I lengthened them slightly as can be seen in this comparison between a first and second generation card.
    ddc card game cards

    These are the first eight cards I made, four from the Picture Deck and four from the Dewey Deck.
    ddc card game

    There are two decks, a Picture Deck and a Dewey Deck, with 32 cards in each.

    Each card is unique and has been created with posed Lego minifigures. I am currently creating supplementary cards which I will make available as soon as I am able.

    The game rules are as follows:


    Each game set should have two decks, a Dewey Deck and a Picture Deck consisting of 32 cards each.

    There should also be game rules, please note that players are welcome to adapt the game to the players.

    Players encountering the Dewey Decimal Classification System for the first time can play the game using the main classes at the top of each card and at the end of the game get an extra point if they match up the Picture Card with the correct Dewey Card.

    Advanced gamers and Librarians can play using the subject specific Dewey Numbers at the bottom of each card

    Game Rules

    Card Game:

    Shuffle the decks but keep them separate

    The aim of the game is to have no cards from either deck by the end of the game

    Deal out both decks to people playing the game

    The Picture Decks must remain face down in front of the players

    All players must hold their Dewey cards

    The person on the left of the dealer flips their first Picture Card (face up)

    If the player to the left of the player that flipped the Picture Card cannot match it with a corresponding Dewey Card they must pick up the card and place it in the middle of their Picture Cards

    If the player can match the Picture card with a Dewey Card then the two cards are placed face up next to each other in the middle of the player circle

    This continues until a player runs out of Picture Cards

    When this happens the Player with no Picture Cards must put down a Dewey Card and gameplay starts to go anti-clockwise

    At this point players must swap their Picture Decks for their Dewey Decks

    If the person to the right of that player cannot match a Picture Card to a Dewey Card then they must pick up the card

    If a player runs out of Dewey Cards then the game reverts to the clockwise direction using Picture Cards

    Gameplay can continue until all the cards are used or until a player runs out of both types of cards

    Book Hunt:

    This uses only the picture cards

    Deal random cards from the Picture Deck to students and ask them to find a relevant book that will match up with the card

    The winner is the student that finds the most books

    Memory Game:

    Place both decks of cards face down on a table

    Flip one Picture Card and one Dewey Card

    If you can match the Picture Card and the Dewey Card put them together, if not flip them face down again and try to match another two

    You can download the beta deck and rules by clicking on the card image below
    ddc card 13x

    Or click here

    Please note: the game is still in active development and as such the rules and cards may change with little to no warning. The game is stable enough to play.

    The game is free to download, use and share but please credit Teen Librarian as the originating source if sharing with colleagues.

    If you would like to offer comments, criticisms and suggestions on how the game can be improved, please leave them in the comments field below.

    Welcome Back Man!

    Looking for a quick and dirty poster welcoming students back to school? Why not use this one because deep down all students super heroes.


    At the very least it may get a laugh and can be used with a display of new graphic novels.

    A Dark Inheritance by Chris D’Lacey

    uk-cover-for- Chris D'Lacey
    When Michael saves a dog in a cliff top rescue, he comes to the attention of his schoolmates, the police and a strange organisation called UNICORNE.

    What UNICORNE reveal is extraordinary.

    They claim they can tell him what happened to his father, who disappeared three years ago, but what they want in return is dangerous.

    Something supernatural that’s hidden in Michael’s very bones…

    Michael is an excellent and likeable protagonist thrust into a strange, dark new world after his seemingly impossible rescue of Trace (the dog) becomes front-page news. His discovery of the differences he has compared to normal humans is mirrored in the changing relationships with his mother, sister and friends. The intrusion of UNICORNE into his life changes him and the demands they make of him seem confusing and only slowly begin to make sense as you progress through the story.

    There are many mysteries contained within A Dark Inheritance and only a few of them are answered within its pages – as a number of great entertainers have said over the years: “Always leave them wanting more!” and A Dark Inheritance does not disappoint.

    I love arc-driven series, it started with Babylon 5 back in the ‘90’s and that love then spun off into books, don’t get me wrong – I love stand-alone novels, duologies and trilogies but I what I really enjoy is finding a series that has action, adventure, scares and excitement and can unfurl its mysteries slowly and organically as the story demands. Obviously to get into such a series a gripping opening book is needed; fortunately A Dark Inheritance is such a book!
    A Dark Inheritance is a brilliant and gripping supernatural mystery mixed up with a who (&how) dunnit and a secret agent vibe. I read it in in two massive gulps in one day.

    It put me in mind of Necroscope by Brian Lumley but aimed firmly at YA readers.

    Teenage Kicks at the BFI

    The sweet pains and explosive joys of youth are celebrated in our selection of films about those in-between years.

    Ticket offer: £6 for 15-25 year-olds, or bring a friend and get two tickets for £10 (excluding special events and talks)

    Join us for Teenage Kicks Socials in the Atrium after the screenings on Thursday afternoons during August (If…, Show Me Love, Thirteen, and Welcome to the Dollhouse), which will include refreshments and discussion with special invited guests.

    Teenage Kicks season allows us – whether we’re young or not so young – to reflect upon ‘teenage’ not so much as a life stage, but as a unique and powerful attitude, one that allows us to approach the world with a radical new energy.

    Full details here

    Punctuation..? a Review

    This is not a review of punctuation – how could it be possible to review The practice, action, or system of inserting points or other small marks into texts, in order to aid interpretation; division of text into sentences, clauses, etc., by means of such marks (OED).

    Rather it is a review of Punctuation..? a book that explains the functions and correct uses of 21 of the most used punctuation marks.


    Punctuation is necessary, useful, and can be more than occasionally confusing, which is why this book is so useful.

    Apart from the Interpunct, Pilcrow and Guillemet the history of punctuation marks is not mentioned which cuts down on extraneous information leaving the text to focus on how punctuation marks are used, giving multiple examples (when required) for each.

    This is a book that would have been incredibly useful for me in my student days as I was “inordinately fond of the comma” according to a lecturer, which cost me marks in my dissertation.

    Punctuation..? focuses on the use of punctuation marks using concise, easy to understand language which can be used with students studying English as a foreign language as well as those for whom English is their first language.

    With a word count of 3000 spread over 36 pages, Punctuation..? is concise enough to hold a reader’s attention while containing enough information to be useful and informative.

    To find out more information or to order a copy follow this link: