April 26, 2016

Carnegie shadowing - reading together the hottest children's books around

Each year I am proud to join in with the Space on the Bookshelf blog, where we join schools around the country reading all of the shortlisted titles for the Carnegie Medal and posting reviews.

Then we try to pick the winner. Sometimes we get it right!

Carnegie Shadowing is a great way to introduce children to 'grown up' books, new authors and titles they probably wouldn't discover themselves. Discovering more about the world through books is a way you can relive other people's experiences through stories and talk about them - and it is this spirit of discussion and sharing that really makes the Shadowing such a great experience.

I run a bookshop, Mostly Books in Abingdon, and we are proud that all the schools take part in the Shadowing. A group of children from each school gets together to offer their views, reviews and present which they think should be the winner. We even get involved with the judging day and offering tips on how to do good reviews!

It creates a huge buzz around books in the town right at the start of the senior school years and we particularly love it when parents read the books too. It's a real showcase for the talent that exists in writing for children today.

It's all great, except I find it just too difficult to choose a winner. So glad I don't have to be a judge.

April 22, 2016

Seven survival tips for the bewildered on twitter

1.      Twitter is a conversation – so you need to be engaged and that means joining in to be part of it. You don't want to be hanging out on Twitter the whole time, but when you do join in, put the time in. And perhaps try to do so twice a day.

2.      People go onto Twitter because they want to be engaged and entertained, so being warm helps, being funny is brilliant if you can do it . . . Have a go at Twitter challenges - and learn to pun well!

3.      But always be positive and generous. Say thank you a lot. Share books and articles that you like – engage with an author and tell them how much you enjoyed reading what they have written.

4.      To be engaging, you need to be conversing with interesting people. Follow people and institutions connected to all of your wider interests, there will be lots of cross-overs. If you’re an author you can follow authors and writers, publishers, bookshops, libraries, but also galleries and people involved in other aspects of cultural life.

5.      Support other authors – congratulate or commiserate when favourite authors do/don’t make shortlists. 

6.      It is more engaging if you try to use a quote from content to recommend an article. Try not to just include a link.

7.      Use images, but don’t change your own photo very often – that becomes your brand and people will start to recognise you.

With grateful thanks to Will Rycroft @vintagebooks for his talk at the London Book Fair, “Successful Social Media Strategies” and for explaining a complex subject so well he made it seem simple.