Bookshelf Special Days



Here at NSTBA HQ, we are always delighted to promote any award which encourages children to read. With the Summer Reading Challenge on the horizon, some of the LOLLIES short list might be the very thing to keep our children reading over the holidays. 

Michael Rosen, children’s novelist, poet and former Children’s Laureate, today announced the shortlist for the 2018 Laugh Out Loud Awards (The Lollies), a set of awards, now in its third year, created by Scholastic UK, to celebrate the funniest children’s books. 

Having long championed humorous books for children, Rosen said of the shortlist: “Anyone around children looking for books to have them giggling and laughing over and over again, these 12 books will do the job.  They are infectious and contagious and dangerous!  Children will want to read them and ask for more. People talk about the importance of getting children reading, well, these shortlisted books do the work all by themselves.”

Rosen and his judging panel, consisting of Katie Thistleton, presenter and host of the CBBC Children’s Book Club, primary school teachers and bloggers, Jo Cummins and Jonny Walker, as well as Kate Newport, Product Director for Scholastic Book Clubs and Book Fairs, were tasked with selecting the shortlist from nearly 120 titles submitted by children’s publishers. 

Rachel Partridge, Group Marketing & Publicity Director, added, “The Lollies continues to grow apace as a celebration of all that is wonderful about funny books. The quality of the submissions for this year’s Lollies demonstrated the strength and depth of author and illustrator talent that abounds in UK publishing. We cannot wait to share these incredible books with teachers, kids and parents and have ambitious plans this year to engage even more schools and get as many kids as possible reading the shortlisted books and voting for their favourites before the vote closes on 14th December 2018.”

The Lollies are awarded in three categories: Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book, Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8 year olds and Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13 year olds. The shortlisted books in each category are as follows: 

Squirrels 1.JPG

Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book:

Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory by Elys Dolan (OUP)

The Squirrels Who Squabbled by Rachel Bright and Jim Field (Hachette)

Oi Cat! by Kes Gray and Jim Field (Hachette)

I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt (PRH)



Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8 year olds: 

Barry Loser and the Birthday Billions by Jim Smith (Egmont)

The Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp (Scholastic)

There’s a Werewolf in My Tent! by Pamela Butchart and Thomas Flintham (Nosy Crow)

Lyttle Lies: The Pudding Problem by Joe Berger (Simon and Schuster)


Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13 year olds:

Tom Gates: Epic Adventure (Kind Of) by Liz Pichon (Scholastic)

My Mum’s Growing Down by Laura Dockrill and David Tazzyman (Faber)

Uncle Shawn and Bill and the Almost Entirely Unplanned Adventure by A. L. Kennedy and Gemma Correll (Walker)

Football Season 2: Where Football Saves the World by Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton and Spike Gerrell (Walker)

The winning book in each category will be decided solely by children’s votes, with schools and parents encouraged to help kids get involved and vote via the Lollies website,, or via the Lollies PopJam channel.

The winning books will be announced in January 2019.  Voting is open to teachers and their pupils, parents and children. The Lollies website will be open for voting from 4th June till 14th December 2018 at:  Teachers can cast up to 35 votes on behalf of their class for each category- so let's get voting!


Hay Festival: Triangle and Square


It's funny how hearing a story which you know and love so well read by the author/ illustrator team really brings it to life! Hearing Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen reading 'Sam and Dave Dig a Hole' today was a real joy. From the reaction of the audience, I was not the only one who loved it!


The pair obviously have a great deal of fun working together, creating fabulous stories like 'Sam and Dave', 'Extra Yarn' (another great favourite of mine!) and 'The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse'. Mac explained how he likes to write books that make the reader do the work, making them think and ask questions about what has happened. 


Explaining that he usually uses pencil and paper and finishes things on the computer,  Jon demonstrated how he creates characters using just the computer so that everyone could see. It was wonderful to see how easily he created the dog with the trademark enigmatic eyes of Jon's characters. He laughingly explained that he doesn't like to show emotion, leaving it to the writing to convey this to the reader.


The session went far too quickly, ending with them reading 'Triangle' and then 'Square'- both of which are brilliant and will be reviewed very soon! 


Just remember, gents- North Somerset. Best cup of tea, best cake- and that's a promise!

Triangle  Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Walker Books   ISBN: 978-1406378368

Square    Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Walker Books   ISBN: 978-1406378658

You can read our review of 'Extra Yarn' here.

Hay Festival: Steven Camden


Author of 'Tape' and 'It's About Love', Steven Camden is a real joy to listen to. His warmth and enthusiasm are infectious and so I was delighted to attend another of his events.

Steven explained that he thinks of writing as treasure; it's written and then left for anyone else to discover. And his new book, 'Nobody Real' is a real gem of a story. Listening to him read from it was completely absorbing...


In the story, Thor is the imaginary friend of a girl called Marcie. A boy with bear arms, he was sent away by her and is now facing the fade. But years on, Marcie once again turns to him as she faces difficult decisions. It is a beautifully crafted story, brilliantly original and compelling- I could not put it down.


Sreven had us working with a partner in the audience to create our own imaginary friend and their creator, filling in the story around them. His zest, energy and humour inspired everyone to create amazing characters and have great fun. Ffion and I created Sophie, a penguin who lived in an igloo style play house in the garden, who became her dance partner when she needed one. 

Steven shared more of 'Nobody Real', having invited a member of the audience to read with him, before the session ended.  Magical!

Nobody Real     Steven Camden

Harper Collins     ISBN: 978-0008168384