Between the lines
Simon James pokes gentle fun at pushy parents in his picture book Baby Brains, and children love it. The tale of the child who goes to school at two days old, moves swiftly on to university, helps out in the operating theatre and is sent into space while still in nappies is overall winner of The Red House Children's Book Award. The only major book award completely chosen by children, this year the Red House involved 25,000 children who voted through schools and family reading groups. See www.redhousechildrensbookaward.co.uk
The wildest dreams of Mr and Mrs Brains would not have touched on the combined cerebral power of the UK Kids' Lit Quiz winning team from Cherwell school, Oxford. Their librarian, Jacky Atkinson, reports that Toby Shelley, Roni Shalev, Sarah Beggs and Cloudy Carnegie fought off their jet lag, got their fingers on their buzzers and came a very respectable third in the world final in Auckland last weekend, where the South African and UK winners took on teams from all over New Zealand.
After St Margaret's college in Christchurch had retrieved the Paper Plus trophy from last year's UK winners, Dunblane high school, the team from Cherwell's Year 7 and Year 8 spent a day devising their own quizzes for visitors to the Storylines literature festival in Auckland. Cherwell's finest plus Jacky Atkinson and library colleague Liz Burden are now touring the North Island and if there is any justice in the world they are drowning in hokey-pokey ice-cream and tucking into slabs of pavlova.
Keep an eye on www.kidslitquiz.com for details of the regional organisers of the 2005 quiz (entry packs go out in September; regional heats take place in November; the final is on November 30 in Newcastle).
Oxford's Story Museum, still a gleam in the eye of its founders, intends to make the considerable children's literature heritage of the city accessible to its consumers. The museum is a long way off from getting its own building, but it has collaborated with the Old Fire Station to launch a summer season of performance storytelling with "storysmith" Chris Smith.
Shows every day except Thursdays, August 7-27. Tickets: 01865 297 170