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Between the lines

TES books editor Geraldine Brennan on the inside literary track

Russell lower school in Ampthill, Bedfordshire knows what a book launch is all about: not celebrity-spotting or canape-chasing, but sending a book on its voyage round the world and making sure nobody misses it.

Years 34 teacher Vanessa Pearce and literacy co-ordinator Heather Pickering greeted the paperback edition of Julia Jarman and Adrian Reynolds' picture book, The Big Red Bath (Orchard Books pound;5.99) with a day of activities for reception to Year 4 classes, the culmination of weeks of work on the bouncy rhythmic bathtime story. Now that the children have heard from the author how it all started when she decided to get her bathroom done, and why an editor is really quite like a teacher, the school is likely to be awash with creativity for the rest of term. A tip: bubble wrap is a great source of dry puddles.

One of the three contenders for the Libraries Change Lives award announced this week aims to revive interest in reading among young people excluded from school. The London borough of Islington's New Horizons Estate Reading Campaign, based in the five most deprived estates in the borough, takes in the In Touch project for excluded pupils based at Hanley Crouch community centre. The three community libraries taking part have scrapped library tickets and fines under the scheme in a bid to become more accessible, and 90 per cent of their new books are bought as a result of readers'


The shortlist for the award to highlight libraries' social inclusion work also includes the Northamptonshire Black History Project, which visits schools to bring 500 years of local black history alive in the classroom and works with Northampton Town FC to counter racism in football.

Meanwhile, adults with learning difficulties in the London borough of Enfield are writing and publishing their own life stories in It's My Life, a partnership between the library service and Enfield Disability Action. As well as offering ICT training, including PowerPoint presentation and voiceover techniques, the programme aims to increase the participants' long-term use of their local libraries. The winner will be announced by Benjamin Zephaniah at the Library and Information show in Birmingham on April 20.

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