Jaynehowarth’s Weblog

Journalist and writer

Posts Tagged ‘reading

September is my New Year

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For years I have maintained that September 1 is the REAL New Year, the time when resolutions should be made.

How many of us make solemn pledges to ourselves as the final bars of Olde Lange Syne fade into the ether, only to abandon them by mid January?[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=new+year’s+eve&iid=3324244″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/3324244/debbie-does-new-years/debbie-does-new-years.jpg?size=500&imageId=3324244″ width=”234″ height=”290″ /]

And January is such a depressing month to be making big changes: you are still coming down from the heady excitement of Christmas (avoiding all bills until February) and it feels so very, very flat. It’s dark, dank, gloomy. Usually wet or snowy. It is not the time to be planning dramatic weight loss.

So, September 1 it is for me.

Why? It’s probably something to do with the new school year, when new beginnings are tangible and you could see the challenges ahead. And there’s a chance the sun is still shining. It feels a more positive time to set challenges.

So it is with me.

For the past two years, I have been toying with the idea of not changing my career, but enriching it. Journalism is my first love and always will be. But I need something else.

I love the idea of teaching, but not being a teacher (this makes sense in my head). I feel utter frustration when I read stories of adults who cannot read or do not have sufficient literacy skills to get a job. [picapp align=”left” wrap=”false” link=”term=reading+a+book&iid=6751297″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/6751297/the-new-term-begins-for/the-new-term-begins-for.jpg?size=500&imageId=6751297″ width=”234″ height=”153″ /]

I cannot imagine their despair. What must it be like to pick up a book and not being able to understand the words? What must it be like to look for a job, knowing you cannot read the adverts? If they have children, they are denied the pleasure of cuddling up and reading together.

After two years’ prevarication, I actually took the plunge last night and signed up for a course that will, hopefully, lead to a new and important strand in my life: teaching literacy skills to adults.

The course starts in a month and I am very excited. I hope I’m good enough. There are far too many people out there who do not have the skills they need and they deserve the very best help.

Written by CommonPeople

September 10, 2010 at 11:45 am

Posted in Jayne's posts

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Shortlist announced for the 2009 Red House Children’s Book Award

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Time travelling cows, a 17th century Japanese ninja and a young boy who mourns for his dead cat have made it on to the shortlist of a prestigious children’s book prize.


The Red House Children’s Book Award (RHCBA) has announced  the shortlist for 2009, chosen by children throughout the country from 838 submitted books published in 2008.


The award is unique because it is the only book award voted for solely by children. (While awards such as CLIP, Smarties and WH Smith/Richard & Judy celebrate children’s books, the shortlists are drawn up by adults and children vote for their favourite. This is not the case with the RHCBA.)


Children from schools, libraries and nurseries have spent the past 12 months working with regional testers from the Federation of Children’s Book Groups (FCBG) and ploughing through the titles, which range from picture books to novels for young adults.


Each reader, aged three to 16, from the 13 Federation of Children’s Book Groups across the country, chose his/her favourites in the three award categories: books for younger children, books for younger readers and books for older readers.


The votes were collated and the eagerly-awaited shortlisted titles are revealed today:




The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg, illus. Bruce Ingman (Walker Books)


Beware of the Frog by William Bee (Walker Books)


A Lark in the Ark by Peter Bently, Illus. Lynne Chapman (Egmont)


The Three Horrid Pigs and the Big Friendly Wolf  by Liz Pichon (Little Tiger Press)




Cows in Action: Wild West Moo-nsters by Steve Cole (Red Fox)


Daisy and the Trouble with Zoos by Kes Gray (Red Fox)


The Cat Who Liked Rain by Henning Mankell (Andersen Press)



Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior by Chris Bradford (Puffin)


Blood Ties by Sophie McKenzie (Simon and Schuster)


Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine (Harper Collins)


Voting is now open to find the category winners and an overall winner.


Anyone under the age of 16 can participate by simply logging onto the RHCBA website, www.redhousechildrensbookaward.co.uk and completing the voting form before the closing date of May 11.


Last year, 59,339 votes were cast in this final stage, which saw Polly Dunbar win the books for younger children category with Penguin and Chris Riddell take the books for young readers prize for Ottoline and the Yellow Cat, while Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant took the award for books for older readers and scooped the overall prize.


Previous winners of the award, which has been running for 29 years, include Robert Swindells, Michael Morpurgo, Roald Dahl, Jacqueline Wilson and Malorie Blackman. It was also the first book prize awarded to JK Rowling, who picked up the prize in 1998 for her first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

 (I’ll declare an interest here – I am being paid to be publicity officer for the RHCBA, but honestly – in my heart of hearts – think this is a fantastic award, which is why I agreed to do it.)