Archive for January, 2013

Bring Up the Bodies named the 2012 Costa Book of the Year

Hilary Mantel has added yet another prestigious award to her trophy cabinet, with Bring Up the Bodies being named the 2012 Costa Book of the Year. The sequel to Wolf Hall, the book had already won the Man Booker Prize and topped many end-of-year lists. It focuses on the life of Thomas Cromwell and explores the destruction of Anne Boleyn.

Judges claimed it was “quite simply the best book” and now Mantel will receive £30,000. The varied shortlist also included Sally Gardner’s touching children’s novel Maggot Moon, Francesca Segal’s debut The Innocents, Bryan and Mary Talbot’s graphic novel Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes and a poetry collection from Kathleen Jamie called The Overhaul. Each runner-up will also receive £5,000.

You can get Bring Up the Bodies in the Book People’s 6-book Man Booker Collection, which is available for just £24.99. With all six books that made it onto the shortlist, the collection also includes Will Self’s Umbrella and Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home.

To find out more about the Costa Book Awards, visit

Bring Up the Bodies

Guest blog – Grannynet: Books that stick with you

Just because I am a grandparent over 60, it doesn’t mean that I am deprived of reading children’s storybooks. In fact I now have an even better excuse to buy them. I must be honest, I do have loads already as I have inherited many from my previous life as a reception teacher so the books I buy have to be special.

Mum and Dad Glue by Kes Gray is one such book. I knew it was when I read the first page:

‘My mum and dad are broken,
I don’t know what to do.
My mum and dad have come undone,
I need to find some glue.’

I was hooked. How can this be a child’s book when the subject matter is so grown-up? How was it going to have a satisfactory ending? So I carried on reading. As you have already guessed it’s about a little boy’s reaction to his parents’ divorce. He blames himself. He wants them back together again, so he goes to a glue shop. He finds all sorts of glue but not the one that he needs. The owner of the shop comes to his assistance and when she discovers why he wants the glue, she then comes to his rescue. She explains to him that even though his parents are broken, they still love him as always.

As you can imagine, I had tears in my eyes, but I continued to read. Thankfully it ends on a positive note when the boy realises that:

‘I need to make the best of things,
There is no glue for hearts.’

Sometimes a book like this can be shared with a child and open up conversations that may help them talk about their fears and in return the grandparent will feel that they been of some help. And even if there is no problem, it’s still a beautiful book that everyone, old or young, should read.

Blog post written by Lorna Edwards from

Grannynet is the definitive website for grandmothers. The website features a forum for grannies to share their thoughts, support and advice on a range of topics.

For more books that deal with divorce and other similar family situations, please visit My Red House.

Kes Gray

Pride and Prejudice is 200 years old!

After all keen book lovers celebrated Charles Dickens’ bicentenary last year, another much-loved novel hits that landmark in 2013. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was first published 200 years ago today and still retains its status as a true classic, with the countless screen adaptations still proving very popular. The likes of Colin Firth, Keira Knightley and even Laurence Olivier have featured in the famous roles.

The story focuses on Elizabeth Bennet, the second of five daughters of a country gentleman. Elizabeth is intelligent, attractive but also has a judgmental streak and a sarcastic wit. When she first meets Mr Darcy, he appears proud and condescending to her, but this doesn’t stop him pursuing her. Meanwhile, his charming young bachelor friend Mr Bingley vows to woo Elizabeth’s older sister Jane. Perfectly bringing the society of the 19th century to life, the book discusses the importance of manners while focusing on two very different individuals, who have to overcome their personal and social differences to embark on an unlikely but wonderful relationship.

The Book People has a set of ten classic novels, featuring Pride and Prejudice, available for just £9.99. Other books in the set include Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

Pride and Prejudice turns 200

Vote for the Red House Children’s Book Award winner 2013!

The countdown is on and there’s only 3 days left for children to vote for their favourite book from the past twelve months to win the Red House Children’s Book Award 2013. A prestigious prize in the literary industry, and the only national book award that is voted for entirely by children, the 2013 shortlist may well be the strongest yet. The winner will be announced during a magnificent awards ceremony at London Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, during the final weekend of this year’s Imagine Children’s Festival.

The Books for Younger Children category sees a range of animals, including snakes, aliens, monsters and dogs all vying for the top prize. Sam Usher’s Can You See Sassoon? features a lovable snake who just likes to hide and the search-and-find pages have delighted toddlers, while Dog Loves Drawing is a charming tale from Louise Yates all about a little dog who discovers a passion for art. Written by Andrew Weale and illustrated by Lee Wildish, Spooky, Spooky House is packed with petrifying pop-ups and a spooky surprise on the last page and Welcome to Alien School is a wacky tale from Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves all about Albie, a boy who takes a crazy journey through space – meeting a number of crazy aliens along the way.

The Books for Younger Readers category features three wonderful fiction titles. David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny further established the popular comedian as the modern day Roald Dahl, and Jonathan Meares’ The World of Norm: May Contain Nuts is an exceptionally funny read similar in style to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Laced with humour, Elen Caldecott’s Operation Eiffel Tower is a touching and poignant story about a family on the verge of breaking up, and the children’s plan to get their parents back together with a trip to Paris – even though they have no money…

The Books for Older Readers category sees heartfelt reads, action-packed thrillers and stylish sci-fi all acknowledged. Suzanne LaFleur’s Eight Keys is a sympathetic and reassuring story that brings to mind Jacqueline Wilson, while Sophie McKenzie will be hoping to repeat her 2009 Red House Children’s Book Award triumph for Girl, Winning with The Medusa Project: Hit Squad. Just as gripping is Pittacus Lore’s The Power of Six, the follow-up to the bestselling I Am Number Four.

If your child wants to vote for their favourite, head over to the Red House Children’s Book Award site before 27 January and get them to pick their favourites from each category.

Part of Imagine Children’s Festival and hosted by James Campbell, the Red House Children’s Book Award ceremony takes place at 2.30pm on Saturday 23 February at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s Southbank Centre. You can buy tickets to the Awards Ceremony, and other events taking place at the festival here.

Red House Children's Book Award - Imagine Children's Festival

New titles from the Book People

The Book People are delighted to offer another batch of exciting new titles, and you can find them all online now. From insightful biographies to amazing TV tie-ins and a selection of kids’ favourites, there’s sure to be something for you to enjoy. But hurry, grab them before we sell out!

One of the biggest news stories of 2013 so far is Lance Armstrong’s confession that he did indeed cheat and use performance-enhancing drugs throughout his Tour de France-winning cycling career. We have Seven Deadly Sins, Sunday Times reporter David Walsh’s compelling account of his mission to discover the truth about the disgraced cyclist, available for just £4.99. It tells how, through 13 years of dogged research and insider information, Walsh struggled and battled to bring the facts to light.

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, Africa has been one of the must-see television programmes this year. For just £9.99, Michael Bright’s book accompanies the hit BBC show and provides readers with a spectacular journey through the five distinct regions of the breathtaking continent. We also have Jennifer Worth’s Shadows of the Workhouse, the sequel to Call the Midwife, on sale for just £3.99 and this compassionate read perfectly celebrates the resilience and spirit of the people of the 1950s.

For kids, we have a wide range of exciting books. Little girls will love joining the Disney Princesses in this 8-book collection that follows the adventures of the likes of Ariel, Belle and Cinderella. The chapter books all feature easy-to-read text and eye-catching illustrations. For boys, we have the Avantia Collection, 4 books that follow on from Beast Quest and are perfect reading for fans when they are slightly older. Full of action, magical creatures and expertly paced, these books are just great for reluctant readers. Award-winning author of My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece Annabel Pitcher has also returned with Ketchup Clouds, the story of Zoe, a fifteen-year-old girl with a dark and terrible secret…

If your child is a fussy eater, Happy Food for Happy Children offers ideas that are sure to help them try new and exciting food. With fanciful and lovable character creations making up healthy meals, this is the perfect way to help little ones eat their fruit and vegetables.

Lance Armstrong - David Walsh

Disney Princess books

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