During my time as a teacher and English manager. I have come to realise that good books and a love of reading are cornerstones of raising attainment in literacy across a school. Teachers and children need to be constantly immersed in high-quality texts.
Through my blog I initially hoped to introduce children, their families, teachers and book-lovers to books they may not have come across before but would enjoy reading or using in their school curriculums.
Gradually I have a curated a collection of reviews and ideas using a diverse and varied range of new titles. I hope that these will give teachers the confidence to try using some new texts (alongside tried and tested favourites), and help children find new authors to enjoy.
To this end, I also started broadcasting a Library Girl and Book Boy podcast, talking to some of children’s literature’s best authors and illustrators about their current work and future projects. These short episodes are perfect for anyone who likes to multitask as they can be listened to whilst on the move.
I firmly believe that funny books are so often overlooked and underestimated by the media to the detriment of a great many enthusiastic readers. To help raise their profile (and champion a wider range of authors than you’ll find in your local supermarket), I run a monthly #FunnyBookChat to champion a genre of children’s books which is loved by its target audience (children) but often looked down upon by adults. If you want to join in, you can find me on Twitter (and Instagram) as @BookSuperhero2.
My passion for funny books has given me the opportunity to work with Scholastic and Michael Rosen on the Laugh Out Loud Book Awards (or the Lollies) , previously as a judge and this year to help create a long-list of titles for the judges to select from.
I am also lucky enough to be working for Just Imagine (the award winning creators of the Reading Gladiator programme) on their HaHa Boing Book Club. A programme designed to help reignite a love of reading in pupils who have lost it through the use of carefully compiled selections of some of the funniest books about. Packs for pupils in Years 3&4, and Years 5&6 are available with supporting activity ideas and termly newsletters.
Another area of interest for me is delivering workshops, talks and CPD to work with teachers and librarians on developing their book knowledge and school collections. Further information about this is available on my ‘Workshops’ page.
Jo Cummins, 2019.