Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Reaching out! Our New Multilingual Collection

As a library wanting to reach as many audiences as we can, to provide an inclusive and welcoming service, we are always looking for ways to spread the reach of services we offer. We had the perfect opportunity to do this last year when we were approached by Dr Sabine Little, SFHEA Lecturer in Educational Studies (Languages Education) who was very keen to launch a multilingual collection of books in the Central Children's & Young People's Library.

After much work from Sabine, staff and generous donations from numerous kind members of the public, publishers, authors and illustrators, including Sheffield's very own Caryl Hart and Lydia Monks in November 2019 our Multilingual Book Collection was launched and has gone from strength to strength.

With a focus on books in as wide a variety of languages as we were able to find, but also languages relevant to the local communities in Sheffield, and high quality books for all ages, this large collection is now a well used and much loved part of our shelves offering choice for groups who may have, in the past, been overlooked.

In conjunction with the Multilingual Collection, Sabine has organised numerous fantastic events and a reading challenge. On Saturday, 27th April we had an all day multilingual Readathon which was a great success. Read more about it below.

Mungo Makes New Friends

Mantra Lingua dual language children's picture storybook 
Written by Gill Aitchison Illustrated by Jill Newton 

Gill Aitchison, author of 'Mungo Makes New Friends' visited Sheffield City Children's Library last Saturday to read her book in English as part of a Readathon.

'Mungo Makes New Friends' is the story of a lonely, old horse set in Scotland where Gill now lives. It is an illustrated children's story which is available in dual language format. Dr Sabine Little, who set up the Multilingual section of the Library, invited readers of Bulgarian, Czech, Farsi, French, Italian, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak and Spanish, so that throughout the day, the same story was read in 14 different languages.

Gill was an EAL (English as an Additional Language) teacher and has promoted the importance of bilingualism and valuing other languages throughout her career. She says 'As an EAL teacher you are able to grade language easily according to the level of the English learner, avoiding words, expressions and tenses that can cause confusion. 'Mungo Makes New Friends' is written with simple grammatical structures. There is repetition to create rhythm which makes it a good book to read aloud in any language and there is alliteration in the English version. The illustrations help with vocabulary.'

'I have always believed that sharing stories with children is a great base for language development. If parents/carers read this book to their children, I want them also to talk together about the illustrations, predict what might happen before they turn the page, learn new vocabulary and retell the story in their own words, in their own language. I hope it encourages children to read and have fun with language and learn some new words.'

'Mungo Makes New Friends' is sound enabled, when used with PENpal, the device reads out the text in English with Ann Morgan-Thomas as the narrator, or your chosen language. It can also record your own voice.

The themes of the book are friendship and teamwork which are not only important for young children, but for adults too. Indeed it was friendship and teamwork which got Gill to the event. Her best friend , Diane Elliott, spotted the article about the opening of the multilingual children's section in 'The Star' last November and forwarded it to Gill. Gill and Diane are both originally from Rotherham. Gill forwarded the article to her publisher Mantra Lingua, who contacted Sabine. Mantra Lingua, very generously decided to donate copies of 'Mungo Makes New Friends' to the library and so Sabine and her network organised a Readathon. Gill's cousin, Chris Wragg, who lives in Sheffield, offered accommodation and help with the craft activities.

From top left clockwise- Dr Sabine Little, Gill Aitchison, Diane Elliott , Chris Wragg

Gill is currently writing a sequel to 'Mungo Makes New Friends', the clue is in the last sentence of the book! 

Thank you to everyone who came along to the Readathon, those who've donated to the collection and of course borrowed from the collection. If you're interested in reading children's books in other languages, we hope you'll come down to check out the collection very soon.

Blog post written by
Alexis Filby
Library and Information Assistant

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Unmasking "Pipsqueak" - The remarkable Sheffield ‘cartoon’ couple who helped spark Sir Quentin Blake’s artistic career

At Sheffield City Archives, there is a series of century-old cartoon illustrations which have, up until now, concealed a fascinating secret. One of the cartoons depicts a young First World War Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) serviceman, smoking a pipe and carrying a violin case. Another shows a female trainee teacher, wearing a ‘teacher pupil’ uniform and clutching a school textbook. Recent research carried out at the city archives has revealed how, remarkably, the individuals caricatured in these two drawings both played a crucial role in helping to  launch the artistic career of arguably Britain’s best-loved illustrator today Sir Quentin Blake.

Blake’s highly distinctive artwork can be seen all around us today - in the children’s books of Roald Dahl, Michael Rosen and David Walliams, on the walls of children’s hospital wards and even on the front of greeting cards. But, until now, it has not been known that the individuals responsible for first steering Blake on the path to becoming a professional artist were a couple from Sheffield with an astonishing story to share.

Quentin Blake has often credited two standout figures from his school days as helping to shape his later career choice as an artist: ‘Mrs Jackson’, his old Latin teacher at Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School in Kent, and her husband ‘Alf’, who he remembers was then working as an illustrator for the satirical magazine Punch. In various interviews he has conducted over the years, Blake recalls how Mrs Jackson came across some cartoons he had drawn as a schoolboy in the margins of his Latin exercise book back in the mid-1940s and showed them to her husband. Alf Jackson was impressed and the teenager was invited to the Jackson home to meet the artist. Alf Jackson showered the schoolboy with advice and encouragement (impressing upon him the importance of incorporating “joke ideas” into his drawings) which led to Blake securing his earliest artistic commissions - he had his first pictures published in Punch magazine a couple of years later aged just 16. Blake’s memories of Alf Jackson are of an eccentric violin-playing, pipe-smoking artist (who would frequently drop ash from his pipe onto the drawings on his desk!). However, the precise identities of Mr and Mrs Jackson have remained (up to this point) something of a mystery. The truth about the couple has now come to light in records held at Sheffield City Archives, chiefly through a remarkable document produced in the unlikely setting of the First World War battlegrounds of the Western Front.

 One hundred years ago, in March 1919, the last edition of a little-known magazine The Leadswinger was issued. The Leadswinger was the First World War “bivouac journal” or “trench magazine” of the 3rd West Riding Field Ambulance Service - a unit which provided medical support to troops on the Western Front including at the bloody battles of the Somme and Passchendaele. The delightfully illustrated magazine was produced in manuscript form “in the trenches, dressing stations and field hospitals” at regular intervals from September 1915 through to the end of the war by a select group of young RAMC servicemen, primarily from Sheffield, with shared literary and artistic interests.

Bursting with humorous articles, cartoons, inventive short stories and poems, the Leadswinger aimed to chronicle the “lighter side” of war and provided the unit with a welcome diversion from the drudgery, hardships and horrors of life on the frontline. Contributors to the Leadswinger went under pen names, their real names hidden. However, recent investigations have unmasked the men behind the magazine, revealing their true identities and leading to some fascinating discoveries.

‘B Section’ of the 3rd West Riding Field Ambulance Service, c. 1914 - a number of men in this photograph contributed to the Leadswinger, the unit’s trench magazine (Sheffield Local Studies Library: Picture Sheffield v03838)
The “Swingers” (as they often referred to themselves) were spearheaded by a dashing young doctor, Captain William Barnsley Allen (1892-1933), chairman of the Leadswinger Committee, who went under the pen name ‘Jack Point’. Allen became one of Sheffield’s most decorated First World War heroes, awarded both the Military Cross and Victoria Cross for his bravery on the battlefield, but, after the war, succumbed to alcohol and drug addiction, culminating in his premature death from an opium overdose. Also central to Leadswinger operations were two brothers: Private Ernest Northend (1891-1964), pen names ‘Castorius Iodinus’ and ‘Ye Corporal’, the magazine’s editor, and Private William Frederick Northend (1887-1968), pen name ‘Dug-Out’, who served as the design and cover artist. The Northend family ran a printing business back in Sheffield and the Northend brothers arranged for souvenir copies of the Leadswinger to be published back in their home town, using the family firm’s printing press. As a result, a century on, some printed editions of the magazine have survived in addition to the original manuscript versions which are now preserved at Sheffield City Archives. 

Arguably the Leadswinger member who has gone on to make the biggest impact on the world as we know it today was the magazine’s chief cartoonist ‘Pipsqueak’ - real name Private Alf Jackson (1893-1971). After the war, Jackson abandoned a career as a violinist to become a freelance artist and we are now able to reveal was the same man who went on to play a decisive role in inspiring and mentoring a teenage Quentin Blake in the 1940s.

Every edition of the Leadswinger magazine, from September 1915 through to March 1919, is peppered throughout with Pipsqueak’s cartoons, depicting his friends and fellow comrades, and the often-perilous situations in which they found themselves, in comical poses (accompanied by witty captions, regularly interwoven with literary and classical quotations). 

Despite his obvious flair for drawing, as showcased in the Leadswinger, Jackson did not have a formal background in art and illustration. On joining the Field Ambulance Service in September 1914, at the beginning of the war, Jackson’s occupation (as recorded on his army service record) was a ‘musician’. 

One of Jackson’s old Leadswinger pals, Jack Jenkinson (1889-1965), who contributed articles for the magazine under the pen name ‘Falstaff’, relates in his First World War memoirs how Jackson was a “practically self-taught artist”. It appears that Jackson may well have inherited some artistic talent from his father John William Jackson (born c. 1871) who worked as a ‘silver engraver’ in Sheffield’s then flourishing silver and cutlery-ware industry. The Jackson family lived at 55 South View Crescent in the Sharrow district of Sheffield. Alf left school aged just thirteen and his father arranged for him to be apprenticed to a local pawn-broker. Working in a pawn-broker’s shop did not suit Alf, who (as his future wife would later recall) was rather “forgetful and dreamy” in nature “with no aptitude whatever for business… interested only in music, drawing and books”. Before war broke-out, he had left his pawn-broker shop role to become a musician, playing the violin in Sheffield’s silent cinemas. 

As he departed for France in 1915, Alf Jackson could never have imagined that the war would open-up an alternative artistic career avenue for him, throwing him into the path of a group of like-minded young men with similar preoccupations with art, literature and the realm of ideas and imagination, which they channelled through their Leadswinger initiative. Out on the Western Front, Jackson’s unofficial role as a trench cartoonist was obviously secondary to his primary duties as an RAMC private. His illustrations in the Leadswinger magazine, oozing with charm and comic-wit, are a far cry from the often-brutal reality of the life he and his fellow Leadswinger members led on the Front - navigating heavy stretcher-loads of wounded soldiers away from danger through mud-clogged trenches at the Somme and over shell-scorched wastelands at Passchendaele. Whilst the prevailing jovial tone of the Leadswinger gives the impression of a close-knit bunch of pals having fun out on the frontline and making light of the difficulties they encountered there, the continual peril Jackson and his RAMC comrades faced was only too real as reflected by the fates of some of his fellow servicemen who Jackson caricatured. 

Take, for example, Colonel Ernest Octavius Wight (1858-1915), the 3rd West Riding Field Ambulance Service’s hugely respected ‘Assistant Director of Medical Services’, depicted by Jackson as a heroic knight riding into battle (on a hobby horse!) alongside a paraphrased quotation from a Shakespeare sonnet in the Leadswinger issue of November 1915. Just a few weeks later, Wight was killed by a shell on the banks of the Yser Canal, Ypres, whilst supervising the evacuation of wounded troops during a German attack. A moving ‘in memoriam’ piece published in the Christmas edition of the Leadswinger of 1915, observes how, just days before his death, Wight had been “expressing his pleasure” at Pipsqueak’s cartoon of him.

The  chairman of the Leadswinger Committee, Captain William Barnsley Allen (1892-1933), aka ‘Jack Point’, who Jackson depicts in a Leadswinger cartoon in March 1916, in a confident, authoritative pose, surrounded by fawning “maidens” above a quotation from Keats, was later seven-times wounded, gassed and blinded for six months. Although decorated with the Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross and Victoria Cross for his gallantry, risking his own life to save others on numerous occasions, notably during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, Allen also carried deep psychological scars from his war-time experiences into his return to civilian life which ultimately contributed to his sad early demise in 1933 from an opium overdose.  

Jackson himself suffered brief bouts of shell shock whilst carrying out his duties as a stretcher bearer under heavy shell-fire during multiple German bombardments. A German gas attack at Nieuport, Belgium, in July 1917, left Jackson blinded for three weeks and gave him respiratory and stomach problems which afflicted him for the rest of his life.

There is a witty serialised story included in the Leadswinger titled ‘Metamorphosis’ written by ‘Pygmalion’ and illustrated by ‘Touchstone’ - both pen names of Private John Gerald Platt (1892-1975). The story is set at an imagined point 15 years in the future in April 1932, where the author depicts himself as a penniless, failed artist - in actual fact, by 1932, Platt had become headteacher of Harrow School of Art. In the story, Platt (one of the few Leadswinger members not to originate from Sheffield) relates how he leaves his home town of Newcastle and goes to Sheffield to try to discover what has become of his fellow former "Swingers". One by one he tracks his old comrades down, seeking out them out in the “ale houses of Sheffield” only to discover how they have each similarly fallen on hard times. He encounters Pipsqueak (Alf Jackson) as a pitiful figure, dressed in rags, forced to go from pub to pub, cap in hand, playing the violin in return for a few pennies.  

In truth, Pipsqueak’s prospects were far more favourable than the future envisaged for him in his fellow artist Platt’s comic scenario. After the war, encouraged by the successful reception to his cartoons in the Leadswinger, Jackson turned away from his pre-war occupation as a violinist, and set out instead on a career as an artist. He began by contributing artwork for local publications, including regular commissions for Sheffield Weekly Telegraph illustrated annuals.

The close bonds between the Leadswinger members continued after the war. An Old Comrades Association was formed in Sheffield for the 3rd West Riding Field Ambulance Service veterans and they remained in regular contact. One of his former comrades who played a key role in Jackson’s post-war fortunes was Private Edward “Teddy” Topham (1894-1966) who had served as the Leadswinger’s secretary and contributed numerous articles for the magazine under the pen name ‘The Scribe’. Topham had been a central figure in founding the Leadswinger in the first place - as a young reporter for the Sheffield Independent newspaper at the outset of the war, his journalistic impulses had been one of the main driving forces behind its creation. Jackson caricatured his bespectacled journalist friend in an early issue of the Leadswinger with a caption “Brother Topham” which proved to be particularly prophetic as the two men became brothers-in-law after the war.

Soon after they were de-mobbed and back home in Sheffield, in Spring 1919 Topham introduced Jackson to his sister Eva Lucy Topham (1902-2002), a fiercely intelligent young trainee school teacher, then still living in the Topham family home on Fitzwilliam street near the city centre. Jackson and Eva bonded over a shared love of art, literature and poetry and kindled a romance over long chats about the works of Shelley, Keats and Swinburne. A cartoon of Eva in her “pupil teacher” uniform (pictured at the start) sketched by Jackson c.1920 survives amongst some memoirs she wrote about her early life growing up in a struggling working-class family in Sheffield in the early 1900s. 

The couple married on 14 September 1926 at the Ecclesall Bierlow District Register Office in Sheffield. Their marriage certificate records Alf Jackson’s occupation at the time as ‘Black and White Artist’ and that of his wife as ‘Secondary School Teacher’. 
The following year Eva and Alf had a baby son Gilbert Keith Jackson. Wanting to return to teaching after the birth of her son, Eva struggled to find a school in Sheffield willing to re-employ her now she had a young child in tow and the Jacksons relocated to Ashford in Kent after Eva was offered a job there as Classics and Latin teacher at Ashford Girls Grammar School. The move down South helped Jackson’s artwork to reach a larger audience and he started to receive regular commissions from the satirical magazine Punch amongst other London-based publications. 

By the mid-1940s, Eva had moved to another Kent school - Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School. It was at this latter school that she came across the caricatures in the exercise book drawn by the teenage Quentin Blake, which led to the meetings she set up between her pupil and her artist husband. Blake’s vivid recollections of Alf Jackson back in the 1940s as an imaginative, characterful fellow, periodically playing his violin and dropping ash from his pipe over his drawings as he dispensed advice to his young apprentice, dovetail with the impressions we get of the young Pipsqueak which shine through the dog-eared pages of the Leadswinger compiled some three decades earlier. A cartoon of Pipsqueak (pictured at the start) carrying a violin-case and smoking a pipe by fellow artist Touchstone (John Gerald Platt) which was published in the Leadswinger edition of August 1918, alongside a reference to Pipsqueak as “our fiddler friend”, neatly mirrors the picture of Jackson conjured up by Blake’s memories of his old mentor. Likewise, does an old photograph of Jackson playing the violin in his garden in Kent in front of his beaming young son (dating from the early 1930s) which has been kindly supplied by Jackson’s daughter-in-law Norma who was tracked down through this recent research into the enigmatic artist. 

Alf Jackson died in London in 1971, aged 78, just a couple of years after Quentin Blake published his first children’s picture book Patrick. Interestingly, Patrick is a charming tale of a man who plays the violin and causes magical things to happen around him, easing sorrow and hardship and instead spreading colour and joy. It is tempting to see something of Pipsqueak in Patrick, the eponymous hero of the book, suggestive perhaps of how Blake carried forth the spirit of the violin-playing Alf Jackson into his work.

After her husband’s death in 1971, on the advice of her doctor as a way of dealing with her grief, Eva (pictured in another photograph provided by Norma dating from the early 1920s) wrote up her memoirs about her early life which recall, in rich detail, her upbringing in Sheffield in the early 1900s and how she first met Alf. Eva died in Cockermouth, Cumbria (where her son and daughter-in-law had relocated) in early April 2002, two months shy of her 100th birthday. Now, intriguingly, the story of the Jacksons has emerged in the century-old records forged amidst the shell-fire of the Western Front trenches.

Quentin Blake’s impact on our collective visual imagination is far-reaching. His illustrations continue to enthral and inspire children and adults alike just as they have done for decades. Next time we reflect upon Blake’s artwork, we might see in his drawings the echo of ‘Pipsqueak’, and the influence of a young Royal Army Medical Corps private, who, a little over a century ago, in between gruelling spells striving to save lives on the battlefields of Flanders, put down his stretcher, picked up a pen, and helped to enrich the world of illustration as we know it.

 Note: The original manuscript editions of the Leadswinger magazine 1915-1919 can be accessed at Sheffield City Archives (Ref. MD2071) as can a copy of the memoirs of Eva Jackson (nee Topham) compiled c. 1971 (Ref. MD8228/1) and the First World War memoirs of Jack Jenkinson compiled c.1930 (Ref. MIL/JEN) both of which include recollections of Alf Jackson (aka Pipsqueak) the Leadswinger’s chief cartoonist. An abridged version of this article, written by archivist Tim Knebel, appeared in the Sheffield Star 'Retro' section, 16 March 2019.

Monday, December 10, 2018

War Peace and Poetry

The Central Library poetry group has been meeting monthly for the last three years. It’s a group for anyone who wants to talk, learn or listen to poetry. People bring a poem, read it aloud and the group talk about it. It can be a published poem or a poem someone has written and would like to hear feedback. Sometimes there’s a theme, other times, anything goes.

Members of the group don’t always agree - it’s great to see people passionate about poetry, and interesting how different people interpret poems. We are always respectful to other people’s opinions.
Some members have said that reading poetry feels comforting; knowing that someone else is going through what you’re going through. And the beauty of a poem is that it’s shorter (time is precious) and is often written in such a way that it stays with us.

On Saturday 1st December, in line with the Sheffield, War & Peace exhibition at Central Library, the poetry theme was war, peace, conflict. Over 30 people attended, many keen to share a favourite poem. A couple of people brought in war diaries with poetry extracts from relatives who had been serving in conflict situations.

There are proven benefits to reading aloud and we encouraged people to take a poem from a selection we held. Those who had a go said afterwards that they really enjoyed the experience – who doesn’t love a round of applause! 

To add to the spirit of the theme, there was also war-time music, snacks and even a spot of fancy dress. Although it was an emotional subject, like the event we held on National Poetry day, the afternoon had a celebratory feel and proved that Sheffield is alive with poetry. It’s on our buildings, it’s on the vernacular overhead on a bus journey. It’s in the hope and spirit of the city and its people. It’s even on the pavements…but only when it rains.

The Sheffield: War and Peace exhibition runs at Central Library until the end of January 2019.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Sheffield: War and Peace

This autumn we've been considering how Sheffield and the surrounding area has been shaped by conflict through the ages.   Check out the exhibition in the Central Library Foyer and Reading Room to discover fascinating stories from our city‘s rich and complex history.  In this post we take a brief look at the rise of Sheffield Castle.

Discover more stories at Sheffield Central Library.

The Rise of Sheffield Castle

In 1066, William, Duke of Normandy conquered England, seizing the throne through victory at the battle of Hastings.  While in Hallamshire, the Anglo-Saxon Earl Waltheof initially retained his position as lord, this proved short-lived.  Waltheof and others were involved in a failed rebellion and he was later captured and beheaded.

Pageant of local history (1931) Featuring Earl of Waltheof of Hallam and his wife Judith attended by Norman
and Saxon ladies. Image s03100 taken from Picture Sheffield

With Waltheof now gone, local control passed to Norman lords and around 1100, William de Lovetot constructed a motte and bailey castle on a natural sandstone outcrop overlooking the Rivers Don and Sheaf.  However, in 1266 the castle which had been largely built of wood, and in all likelihood, much of the town around it was destroyed during the Second Baron’s War. 

Artist's Impression of Sheffield Castle around 1350 - Image s05123 from Picture Sheffield

With the close of war and the king restored to power, in 1270 Thomas de Furnival received a royal charter to build a new castle on the same site, this time made of stone.  It was this castle that over the coming centuries would expand to become the fourth largest fortress in England and sit beside a now growing town.

Population of Sheffield in 1086 – 150 - 200

Above. Sheffield's royal market charter.
In 1296 and during a time of relative stability, the third Thomas de Furnival was granted a royal charter to hold a weekly market and an annual fair. 

Visit www.picturesheffield.com, the city’s depository of over 100,000 local images. 
You can discover more about the variety of sources available to use for research and study through our curated research guides, available at www.sheffield.gov.uk/archives

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Creative Writing Success at Central Library

A library card gives you access to a wide range of creative activities, social groups and opportunities to learn, enjoy and grow.  Visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/libraries to discover more.

The Central Library Creative Writing Group has been meeting monthly for the last three years. Each month, a subject is chosen and the group listens to poems and prose as well as looking at visual images on the theme followed by a discussion. We then write about that subject; sometimes people write poems, other times it’s the start of a novel, notes or diary entries.  A few members have said that writing on certain subjects has been cathartic.

It’s a lively, inspiring group, and so far, two books have been published by members of the group, and we've hosted a packed out poetry book launch on behalf of one of the group members.

The sessions are a time when participants can completely escape into their own writing, and find inspiration, unlock their creativity and share in the synergy that often forms when writers converge.

At this year’s Off the Shelf Writing Festival, there was a Sheffield Short Story competition. The Central Library Creative Writing Group met in September and worked on short story submissions. We are delighted to say that four members of the writing group, including Claire Walker, Library and Information Assistant, the facilitator of the group, were long-listed.

Sean Webster, from the group won 3rd place!  Well done to Sean and all those who were shortlisted and entered.

Two of our writers share their thoughts;

Hannah Whiteoak
Hannah’s story was shortlisted for the Sheffield Authors competition.

“My shortlisted story, Blackbird, is set in Endcliffe Park, which (along with the various libraries) is one of my favourite places in Sheffield. I've recently joined the Central Library creative writing group to meet other writers and get new ideas. I have a few stories and poems online at medium.com/@hannahwhiteoak and would love to write more.”

Sean Webster
Sean won 3rd place in the Sheffield Authors competition.

“A roller coaster ride, not knowing you're shortlisted until the last minute, then you're on - stand and deliver! It was fantastic to hear really positive comments on my work, and I thank everyone who voted for a love story that shone brightly, but all too briefly across the Sheffield skyline.

I've had some excellent writing sessions at Sheffield Library in Claire Walker’s Saturday morning group. Two exercises per session that vary immensely from week to week, where everyone is encouraged and given a voice. I was very proud to have some work on display in the library that was produced during one of these inspiring sessions."

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Sheffield Children's Book Award 2018 - The BIG 30!

The Sheffield Children's Book Award is back and 2018 represents 30 years since the start of the award! 30 years ago Ghostbusters was out in cinemas, the very first Mackintosh computer was unveiled, the first episode of The Bill was aired and Band Aid was recorded! A lot has changed in the World over those years, but the Book Awards has remained and gone from strength to strength.

So 2018 isy quite special, and we have a shortlist of dazzling titles to reflect that, for which the votes are now in, and frantic preparations have begun for the award ceremony which will take place on Friday 16th November. School classes from around Sheffield have been invited to come along to The Lyceum Theatre for a particularly special ceremony, to make a lot of noise and meet some of their favourite authors and illustrators. It's an exciting, fun and brilliantly book lead day.

We have an array of lovely authors, illustrators and publishers joining us for this year's award ceremony, including some of the winners from years gone past! Keep an eye open on our Twitter account this coming Friday to get all the action from the day:- @SheffLibraries

Just in case you've not seen this year's fabulous shortlist, here's a quick recap.

Illustrated by Mel Four
Published by Bloomsbury

Bedtime with Ted
Written and illustrated by Sophy Henn
Published by Bloomsbury

Milo's Mix & Match
Written and illustrated by Faye Williamson
Published by Fourth Wall Publishing

Hole in the Zoo
Written by Mick Inkpen
Illustrated by Chloe Inkpen
Published by Hodder

Yoga Babies
Written by Fearne Cotton
Illustrated by Sheena Dempsey
Published by Andersen Press

My Incredible Knitting Nana

Written and illustrated by Rowena Blyth
Published by Fourth Wall Publishing

Perfectly Norman
Written and illustrated by Tom Percival
Published by Bloomsbury

Daisy Doodles
Written by Michelle Robinson
Illustrated by Irene Dickson
Published by Oxford University Press

Game of Stones
Written by Rebecca Lisle
Published by Maverick Arts 

Billy and the Mini Monsters
Written by Zanna Davidson
Illustrated by Melanie Williamson
Published by Usborne

Press Start! Game Over & Powers Up
Written and illustrated by Thomas Flintham

My Brother's Famous Bottom Makes a Splash
Written by Jeremy Strong
Illustrated by Rowan Clifford
Published by Penguin Random House

The Tale of Angelina Brown
Written by David Almond
Illustrated by Alex T Smith
Published by Walker Books

Letters from the Lighthouse
Written by Emma Carroll
Published by Faber & Faber

A Place Called Perfect
Written by Helena Duggan
Published by Usborne 

Written by Mitch Johnson
Published by Usborne

The Island at the End of Everything
Written by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Published by Chicken House

The Goldfish Boy
Written by Lisa Thompson
Published by Scholastic 

We Come Apart
Written by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

Written by Jason Wallace
Published by Andersen Press

After the Fire
Written by Will Hill
Published by Usborne 

Have you cast your vote? Which was your favourite? We think they are all winners. A fabulous set of books to engage and excited children of all ages and ability. Watch this space to find out who comes out on top! 

Thank you to everyone who has longlisted, shortlisted, read, voted, attended and supported the Sheffield Children's Book Awards over the past 30 years. Here's to 30 years more!

Thank you! 

Blog post written by Alexis Filby (Library and Information Assistant).