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The SLA blog contains news about the SLA and topical information of general interest to our members. The blog has been running since 2004. An RSS 2.0 feed and information about how to subscribe to the blog are available.

Older blog posts are still available, though archived, on the website, but please check the date at the top of the post to make sure the offer or information is likely to be valid.

SLA Information Book Award Shortlist

The School Library Association announces the shortlist for the eighth annual SLA Information Book Award.

Chair of the Judges Chris Brown said: “This is the eighth year of the Awards and it is an absolute delight to have received more brilliant, attractive and amazing books than ever. Inevitably that wonderful abundance has made judging and choices more difficult and this shortlist reflects the incredibly high standards publishers are achieving in producing information books for our young readers.”

From our sponsor, Hilary Murray Hill, CEO, Hachette Children’s Group commented:

“I am fiercely proud of our sponsorship of the SLA Information Book Awards. These are now the only awards that highlight the essential work library staff do in engaging young people with information books, as well as celebrate the breadth and imagination of contemporary non-fiction publishing. The authors and illustrators on the 2018 shortlist, and the information professionals, all deserve the highest praise. Their work will encourage, motivate, inform and inspire a whole generation of children.”

The School Library Association is pleased to announce the shortlist for each age category as follows:

7 and under

  • Look I’m a Scientist by Various Authors ISBN 9780241231074 (Dorling Kindersley)

  • Proud to be Deaf by Ava, Lilli,Nick Beese and Romina Marti ISBN 9781526302182 (Wayland)

  • Rock Pool Secrets by Narelle Oliver ISBN 9781406358773 (Walker Books)



  • 100 Things to Know About Food by Various Authors and illustrated by Parko Polo and Mariani Federico ISBN 9781409598619 (Usborne)

  • Dinosaur Atlas by Anne Rooney and James Gilleard ISBN 9781786577184 (Lonely Planet)

  • Real-Life Mysteries – Can You Explain the Unexplained? by Susan Martineau and Vicky Barker ISBN 9781911509080 (b small publishing)

  • The Ways of the Wolf by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Jonathan Woodward ISBN 9781526360304 (Wren & Rook)



  • Escape From Syria by Samya Kullab, Jackie Roche and Mike Freiheit ISBN 9781770859821 (Firefly Books)

  • Explanatorium of Nature by Various Authors ISBN 9780241286845 (Dorling Kindersley)

  • From Prejudice to Pride: A History of the LGBTQ+ Movement by Amy Lamé ISBN 9781526301901 (Wayland)


Congratulations to all our shortlisted authors, illustrators and publishers. The winners will be announced at an event at Hachette Children’s Group’s offices, Carmelite House, on Wednesday 7th November, the start of National Non-fiction November.

Voting for the Children’s Choice from the shortlists will be open shortly as will some activity ideas for the books. Announcements will follow on the SLA website www.sla.org.uk and via Twitter [at]UKSLA and on our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/schoollibraryassociation/


Hachette Children’s Group Award for Outstanding Contribution to Information Books

The Hachette Children’s Group Award for Outstanding Contribution to Information Books launched last year. The award is given to an eminent UK writer or illustrator of information books for children, to mark an exceptional contribution to excellence in their field. In its inaugural year, the prize was voted for by a panel of school librarians and the judges of the Information Book Award, and Nicola Davies was selected as the recipient of the award.

This year, a selection of children’s reading organisations will be invited to submit nominations to the panel, and then take part in a voting process to determine the winner. The 2018 winner will be announced at the SLA Information Book Award ceremony on 7th November.

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Job Vacancies: Thomas More Catholic School: School Librarian


Thomas More Catholic School

Secondary School & Sixth Form 11 - 18

School Librarian

Salary : NJC Scale 4 Pt19-21 (£21,198 - £22,425 FTE)

Full Time 36 hours per week, Term Time Only 

(negotiable and depending on experience)

Required for 1st September 2018 

Please note: You do not need to be Catholic to apply. 

We are seeking to appoint an excellent individual, who is highly motivated, innovative and passionate about children's achievement, books and reading and able to lead and manage our Library and all it offers.

You will be managing a newly refurbished and vibrant learning area which is very well stocked, beautifully kept, the centre of the school buildings and extremely popular with students at all times of the school day, before and after school and break and lunchtimes. You will be required to manage the smooth running of the Library, by managing children, books and resources, offering support and advice to all users, promoting good study skills and operating the Library management system. Excellent ICT and behaviour management skills are essential.

Main duties will comprise of :

  • Overseeing and monitoring of age appropriate books
  • Ensuring student engagement in competitions, both internally and externally to the school.
  • Liaising with Heads of Departments and Senior staff in order to keep developing the Library.
  • To work with groups of students on the Student Council and Student Leadership Team
  • To organize Literacy enrichment opportunities
  • To be willing to qualify to be a lead First Aider and be involved in the wider health treatments of students, along with other members of the administrative team
  • To network with other Librarians within the borough of Croydon and beyond it
  • To market and promote reading and Literacy throughout the school 
  • To assist with the exams officer and Subject leaders leading up to and including exam season
  • To communicate and help facilitate with other staff  in order to support school events
  • To have a commitment to raising standards and achievement for students  at the school.

Thomas More is a good and very stable school where positive change is taking place. We pride ourselves on having excellent student leadership and high staff retention rates. Our 6th Form is rapidly growing in size. We ensure that teaching and learning is of the highest quality; rigorous, challenging, differentiated and engaging. Our aim is for educational excellence in all areas. We have a strong focus on student and staff wellbeing which is evident from the moment you step into our community.

To apply please fill out the attached CES Support Staff Application Form – We do not accept CVs.

Closing Date : Monday 11th June 2018

 Interview Date : To be confirmed once shortlisting has taken place.

The Governors of Thomas More Catholic School are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. The appointment is subject to the normal pre-employment clearances (e.g. satisfactory references, medical clearance and a satisfactory outcome to your Enhanced DBS Disclosure).

Support Staff Application Form

Word document, 188 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 97 or later)


Advert for Librarian

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Picture Book about Bullying written by pupils

And, for some positive weekend reading, a good news story from SLA member Tamsin Farthing at Royal Grammar School, Guildford.

There has been extraordinary success by a book written by a group of pupils from the Royal Grammar School in Guildford to tackle bullying head on. They have written the book as part of the Young Enterprise Company Programme under their company name Lunar.

After being Runners Up in the YE West Surrey Area Finals they have now been crowned Best Company in the YE Surrey Finals and now go on to represent the county at the South East Finals at Guildford Cathedral in June.

They currently are in negotiations with a number of publishers who have expressed interest in publishing Jacob’s Journey and are approaching the Police and Crime Commissioner to have the book in all Primary Schools in Surrey.  After reading reports about bullying in schools, the boys became aware of the increasing number of incidents of racist bullying on children, by children, in our schools. Wanting to do something to address this they decided to write a children's book, Jacob's Journey. 

Jacob's Journey, is written and illustrated by the pupils and tells of the story of Jacob who is bullied at school for being different. Jacob embarks on a magical journey to the moon where he learns about equality. The book, written for primary age children, helps introduce messages such as kindness and acceptance, all of which are vital when educating about bullying. 

For more information please see the attachment. 

Lunar books 180518

Word document, 244 kB

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The Rainbow Flag Award

The Rainbow Flag Award focuses on LGBT+ visibility and inclusion, taking an organisational approach to do this, because a "one size fits all" approach could never work. After providing you with some starter training and resources, they will work with you to meet your exacting needs, helping you to find your own ways of eradicating LGBTphobic bullying, whilst positively educating about LGBT+ people and identities. This will take into account your setting, your staff, your communities and of course, your young people. It is this individualised approach that enables us to offer a very inexpensive membership to the scheme. 

We are currently recruiting schools and colleges to a September 2018 starter cohort.

To find out more, or to sign up to be a Rainbow Flag Award school or college, please visit the dedicated website here.

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Write Path collaborative writing project discount

Wick Pic 1

The Write Path international collaborative writing project has been running since 2008 and during that time it has helped librarians and teachers all over the world to enthuse their students about creative writing.  As this year is the project’s 10th birthday founder Bev Humphrey wants to celebrate in style! Published children’s authors are asked to contribute an opening paragraph to a story and then the story starters are published on the website as blog posts at a rate of 6 per day. Each day schools sign up to have one hour (or one and a half for primary children) to compose a next paragraph to each of the day’s six stories , each time reading and developing the paragraphs written by previous schools. At the end of the project the finished stories are all published in paper books and each school receives one copy as part of their subscription and has the option to purchase more if required. Fantastic authors write for the project, Cathy Cassidy and Alan Gibbons, Chris Bradford, Eleanor Updale  ,Tommy Donbavand and Eoin Colfer  contribute story starters every year to name but a few. Bev is  online throughout the project to support and troubleshoot and is contactable via a chat box on the website, by phone and by email. The students eligible to participate are between 10 - 13 years old so naturally continuations need to be kept appropriate for all age groups to read. In past years schools in the United Kingdom, France, Kuala Lumpur, USA and Australia have taken part and the children always rise to the writing challenge admirably. Due to the different time zones the event often goes on for 24 hours - which makes for a very tired but happy organiser at the finish naturally.

Continuing the stories in such a tight timeframe gives students experience of working to deadlines and also very much adds to the excitement. As the continuations are published as blog comments they are immediately live for anyone to read so this provides good experience of writing for an audience. Continuing storylines started by others requires concentration and an attention to detail that can be quite challenging, although any mistakes can usually be rectified afterwards. Tweet updates about the stories and the schools taking part are posted each day and it’s always lovely when the authors read the finished tales and comment on them. 

Carola Webber, Good Samaritan Catholic College, NSW has this to say about the project:

My first involvement in Write Path  was in 2011, after taking up the challenge from my predecessor as teacher-librarian in a Western Sydney Secondary School. The experience then, and in the years since, has been intense and exhilarating. My year 7 students took to the project with far more enthusiasm than skill and have always gained a great deal from their involvement

Write Path provided an opportunity for, in my case, a team of 12 young people to interact with students from around the globe. We were all enriched by the experience, not only from the perspective of challenging students in writing, but also in terms of engaging with others across time zones and oceans to create something special together.Technology makes the project possible and can enhance the whole experience: I recall a few years back having a most entertaining late-night discussion with some young English students who, as well as asking insightful questions about our stories from that day hoped that I might introduce them to the members of the band 5 Seconds of Summer (who, since they live in Sydney, must be known to me!). If time permits, making and sharing promotional videos and taking photos makes for memorable moments for all concerned.’

Ruan Peat , librarian at Wick Community Library in Scotland has taken part for many years also:

I heard about the Write Path at a CILIP conference and signed my school up. I wasn’t sure how my pupils would react to being asked to write something at short notice without seeing  the finished result for a while but I thought it would be an interesting event. I tried to get a higher ability class to do this with but timings and reality meant I had a single class available for the time and so I involved them, this class was a very mixed ability class with some having helpers for writing and reading assistance. Gamely I gave it a go and whilst we had timing issues (it took longer to type in than I thought it would) we enjoyed the whole exercise, I arranged the groups according to a mix of abilities and some of the lower ability kids came up with the most stunning ideas. Some of the more able who normally lead found themselves acting as scribes for the group and found this to be a task they enjoyed too. This was so successful I have looked for the more challenging classes to work with each year and have always had a wonderful time. It lets me get to know the children better and encourages them to ‘play’ with words and ideas. The final result of a finished book always reminds them of the day and makes them proud of their own work and their collaboration with students across the world!’

You can learn more about the project and sign up on the website www.writepathint.com and Bev is offering a discount of £5 for SLA members, quote SLA18 

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Awesome Book Awards 2018

CRANLEIGH SCHOOL, May 3rd: Hundreds of young readers from across the South East gathered together for a celebration of children’s fiction at the Awesome Book Awards 2018 prize-giving. Peter Bunzl won the top prize this year for his first children’s novel Cogheart.

“I was delighted to be shortlisted and grateful to the schools for giving children the chance to get involved in reading and reviewing new books. The Awesome Book Awards are an important new prize in children’s fiction and it’s fantastic to hear from so many children who have enjoyed my story,’ said Peter Bunzl. Peter, who has since published a sequel, Moonlocket, was presented with his prize and trophy by the winner of last year’s inaugural Awards, Ross Welford.

Peter’s advice to aspiring young writers was: “Read as much as you can, and write as much as you can – anything and everything.  Poetry, novels, short stories, non-fiction – whatever interests you.  Read it all and write it all, and don’t fear failure – you learn by trial and error until you’ve found your voice and the story you want to tell.”

For more information about the Awesome Book award and for more details about the ceremony please see the below information.

Awesome Book Awards 2018 Announcement

Word document, 17 kB

Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later



Peter Bunzil 2018 Winner with Ross Welford 2017 Winner Awesome Book Awards Photo Lillian Spibey Sml

Peter Bunzil 2018 Winner with Ross Welford 2017 Winner
Awesome Book Awards
Photo Lillian Spibey Sml















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Mental Health, Wellbeing and Reading: Birmingham, 28 June 2018

New SLA Course!

Our course Mental Health, Wellbeing and Reading, run by Marie (Maz) Udall from Self Esteem Team, will be held at Peters Ltd, 120 Bromsgrove Street, Birmingham B5 6RJ on 28 June 2018.

Literature, escapism and safe spaces are all imperative to good mental health so honing the skills levels of the staff in these spaces is a great way to bolster wellbeing in your school.  Issues covered on this course will include anxiety, body image, academic stress, mental health and self-esteem.

The closing date is 14 June 2018. Bookings received by 5 June 2018 are eligible for a £15 discount.

Key Audience:

KS2 and secondary school staff

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Job Vacancies: Librarian & Careers Coordinator

 St Joseph's College, Reading

Librarian & Careers Coordinator

Required for September 2018

Full Time – Term Time (36.4 weeks per annum)

We require an inspirational and forward-thinking person with a real passion for literature to further promote and develop the College Library.  The post carries the overall responsibility for the oversight of the library together with the administration and provision of careers advice and guidance. Previous school experience is desirable together with an appropriate librarian qualification.  No prior experience of Careers Education is required.

This is an exciting time to become part of our dynamic team. Situated in the heart of Reading, St Joseph's College is the leading independent day school for boys and girls aged 3 to 18 in Berkshire. In November 2015 it was named Independent School of the Year, in July 2016 it won the Outstanding Progress Award in the independent sector at the Education Business Awards and in November 2016 it received the Outstanding Leadership Team award at the Leadership Awards.

Main Duties

Ensure the smooth-running of an effective library service

Develop and promote the library in order to meet the needs of young people in the 21st century, ensuring the library is an integral and effective part of the education process of the College

Inspire a love of literacy

Provide careers advice and guidance across all year groups in the Senior School and in particular to pupils in Year 9 and above.

The post holder will receive a negotiated salary, depending on experience and qualifications. 

The successful candidate will be fully supportive of the College Catholic tradition and ethos.

Further details and an application form are attached or can be downloaded from our website www.sjcr.org.uk. or contact the Headmaster's PA on 0118 9661000 or email recruitment[at]sjcr.org.uk.

Applicants for this post need to complete the non-teaching staff application form and return it together with a covering letter to recruitment[at]sjcr.org.uk or alternatively sent by post to Mrs Gravenor, Headmaster's PA, St Joseph's College, Upper Redlands Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 5JT. Electronic application is encouraged and preferred.

CVs will not be accepted.  

Closing date:  Monday 14 May 2018 (noon)

The College is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff to share this commitment.  The successful applicant will be subject to an Enhanced DBS check.

SJCR Information for Candidates - Librarian & Careers Coordinator

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SJCR non-teaching staff application form

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