What to look for
There are two magazines that review children's books and carry author features: Carousel and Books for Keeps. Carousel is the more colourful and child-friendly. It is published three times a year. Subscription inquiries to 0121 622 7458 or email firstname.lastname@example.org AuthorZone is a series of A4 booklets containing author profiles. A regular format and bright presentation make these a must-have for any school. There have been four issues so far. AuthorZone4 is available from Peters Bookselling Services at pound;6.95. Download the order form: www.peters-books. co.uk az-orderform.htm
Mammoth publishes a series of excellent value (pound;2.99) paperbacks (recently rejacketed - see below) about individual authors. Subjects include Michael Morpurgo, Anne Fine, JK Rowling and Jacqueline Wilson.
Re-jacketings and re-issues
The children's publishing industry is increasingly recognising the need to repackage tried-and-tested titles for a new generation of readers. And with the tight demarcation of the younger reading groups, a new generation comes along every three of four y ears. The first three Harvey Angell titles - a terrific sequence of novels for 8 to 10 year-olds - have been given highly-colourful, expertly designed new covers that would make an eye-catching focal point in any KS2 book corner.
Harvey Angell, Harvey Angell and the Ghost Child and Harvey Angell Beats Time (Red Fox, pound;4.99 each).
Graphic novels and visual books
Books are for looking at, as well as reading, so ensure your book collection encourages an appreciation of illustration. Stephen Biesty's latest cross-section title, 'Rome' (Oxford University Press pound;12.99) will fascinate KS2 children, and a class library where it is available for daily browsing is just the place for a title such as this.
Raymond Brigg's 'Ug' (Red Fox, pound;4.99) will be a hit with any age group and Titan Books publish 'Catch Of The Day' (pound;8.99), a graphic novel starring Wallace amp; Gromit.
Children will be drawn to characters familiar to them from TV and film. So don't turn your nose up at media tie-ins.
Puffin has a new series of slim paperbacks, written by Narinder Dhami and based on classic Walt Disney cartoons: Lady and the Tramp, The Aristocats, The Jungle Book, Cinderella (all pound;3.99). Just right for encouraging Y1-3 to increase their reading independence.
A well-managed and evolving book corner will inevitably stimulate an exchange of opinions. Word-of-mouth by itself does not necessarily travel far in primary schools. So encourage children to add comments to the jackets of books they return. Fluorescent coloured bits of card available from cut-price stationery shops are ideal for this.