Monday, September 28, 2020

The Sheffield Children's Book Award - Emerging Reads

The Sheffield Children's Book Award is brought to you by Sheffield Libraries and is a celebration of our favourite children's books of the year! This Award is a way to share with you books that children will love to read, whilst also promoting inclusion, diversity and empathy in great stories.

Right about now we would ordinarily be counting up your votes for this year's shortlisted titles, readying for our ceremony in November, but like many things, Covid-19 has meant a change of plans. Don't fear, the book award is still happening, but we've moved it over to next year where we will hopefully have a bumper double, and most importantly safe, celebration of titles in 2021

However, we still have an exciting bunch of beautiful books that we want to promote and enjoy on this year's shortlist so for the next few weeks we'll be blogging about each category of shortlisted titles and giving you a closer look at each one.

Vote for your Favourite!


Why not read the books for yourself and let us know which is your favourite?
Get a closer look at each title in our Instagram Highlights

Then submit your vote via our online form.

Emerging Reads


Our third category is the Emerging Reads, Brilliant books to get children dipping their toes into their first attempts at reading. Still highly illustrated, but with more words designed to engage beginner readers.



The Missing Bookshop


Written by Katie Clapham

Illustrated by Kirsti Beautyman

Published by Stripes

Milly loves going to story time at her local bookshop. Mrs Minty is an encyclopaedia of books and knows the perfect story for every occasion ... tales of mischievous children and far away lands, magical beats and daring adventures. But the bookshop is old and creaky, just like Mrs Minty herself. And then one day Milly arrives to find the shop gone! What has happened to Mrs Minty and her irreplaceable bookshops? 

A warm and uplifting tale about the importance of stories. 



Watch the trailer for The Missing Bookshop: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f06hEMPHluk



Level Up!



Written by Tom Nicoll

Illustrated by Anjan Sarker

Published by Stripes

Video game obsessed Flo gets more than she bargained for when she finds herself INSIDE her favourite game. Turns out, virtual reality isn't as much fun when it's not so virtual. 

An engaging page turner for those getting to grips with reading.








The Paninis of Pompeii


Written by Andy Stanton

Illustrated by Sholto Walker

Published by Egmont

Welcome to the last days of Pompeii as you've NEVER imagined them before! Join fart-trader Caecilius, his wife, Vesuvius and their ten year old song, Filius, in a bizarre world of accidental gladiators, pizza-emitting volcanoes and the legendary Ma-wol-n-f.

Full of ludicrous characters, surreal escapades and outrageous word play - if you thought Mr Gum was weird, then get a load of the Ancient Pompeiians!




Watch Andy Stanton read from The Paninis of Pompeii.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQwjtRcwscU&t=21s


Join us on the blog next week as we share with you the Shorter Novels ....


Discover More


To discover all the shortlisted titles download our new Recommended Reads Booklet (PDF).

Join the discussion, tell us your favourite over on our social media pages:
Instagram @shefflibraries









Please leave your comments (subject to moderation).

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Sheffield Children's Book Award - Picture Books

The Sheffield Children's Book Award is brought to you by Sheffield Libraries and is a celebration of our favourite children's books of the year! This Award is a way to share with you books that children will love to read, whilst also promoting inclusion, diversity and empathy in great stories.

Right about now we would ordinarily be counting up your votes for this year's shortlisted titles, readying for our ceremony in November, but like many things, Covid-19 has meant a change of plans. Don't fear, the book award is still happening, but we've moved it over to next year where we will hopefully have a bumper double, and most importantly safe, celebration of titles in 2021

However, we still have an exciting bunch of beautiful books that we want to promote and enjoy on this year's shortlist so for the next few weeks we'll be blogging about each category of shortlisted titles and giving you a closer look at each one.

Vote for your Favourite!


Why not read the books for yourself and let us know which is your favourite?
Get a closer look at each title in our Instagram Highlights

Then submit your vote via our online form.

Picture Books

Our third category is the Picture Books, perfect bedtime stories to entertain and excite little ones, great group or classroom reads the picture books contains a variety of stories and illustrations to delight. 


The Truth About Old People


Written and illustrated by Elina Ellis

Published by Two Hoots

A very funny and loveable picture book tribute to grandparents and older people. 

When you're small, everybody bigger than you seems really old. But does being older have to mean being boring, or slow or quiet? NO! Elina Ellis' wonderful illustrations reveal that the age you are makes no difference to how amazing you can be.

From the winner of the Macmillan Prize for Illustration 2017, The Truth About Old People is an instant favourite with children and grown-ups that joyfully busts stereotypes about older people. Elina has a great talent for characterful illustrations: you'll feel like you've known this family all your life.

Watch Elina read The Truth About Old People in the video below




A Mouse Called Julian


Written and illustrated by Joe Todd Stanton

Published by Flying Eye Books

Julian is a mouse who is perfectly happy avoiding other animals. They seem to just get in the way and sometimes even try to eat him! But one day Julien has an unexpected dinner guest...

When fox tries to sneak into Julian's burrow for a tasty bit of mouse, it finds itself stuck headfirst in Julian's front door! This is a gorgeous modern graphic novel style picture book which has a charming yet funny tale to tell.

Watch Joe Todd Stanton read A Mouse Called Julian over on YouTube




Show and Tell


Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph

Published by Harper Collins

The funny and fantastic new picture book from award-winning and bestselling creative star Rob Biddulph! School has never been so fun.

Meet Class 21. These kids are excited. Today's Show and Tell day and you're all invited! come and be schooled in magic and wonder in this brand new story about how biggest isn't always best. 

Packed to the brim with his trademark warm humour, life lessons and pitch perfect rhyme, this is a story to read together, laugh out loud at and enjoy over and over again. The perfect book for boys and girls to read out loud or enjoy alone.

Watch the official trailer for Show and Tell on YouTube





Join us on the blog next week as we share with you the Emerging Reads ....


Discover More


To discover all the shortlisted titles download our new Recommended Reads Booklet (PDF).

Join the discussion, tell us your favourite over on our social media pages:
Instagram @shefflibraries





Please leave your comments (subject to moderation).

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Sheffield Children's Book Award - Toddler Books

The Sheffield Children's Book Award is brought to you by Sheffield Libraries and is a celebration of our favourite children's books of the year! This Award is a way to share with you books that children will love to read, whilst also promoting inclusion, diversity and empathy in great stories.

Right about now we would ordinarily be counting up your votes for this year's shortlisted titles, readying for our ceremony in November, but like many things, Covid-19 has meant a change of plans. Don't fear, the book award is still happening, but we've moved it over to next year where we will hopefully have a bumper double, and most importantly safe, celebration of titles in 2021

However, we still have an exciting bunch of beautiful books that we want to promote and enjoy on this year's shortlist so for the next few weeks we'll be blogging about each category of shortlisted titles and giving you a closer look at each one.

Vote for your Favourite!


Why not read the books for yourself and let us know which is your favourite?
Get a closer look at each title in our Instagram Highlights

Then submit your vote via our online form.

Toddler Books

Our second category is the Toddler Books, the first steps into reading with your little ones. 



Milo and Monty


Written and illustrated by Roxana De Rond

Published by Child Play

Milo and Monty are very different dogs. Monty enjoys hugs and noisy playtimes, but Milo prefers to avoid people and hide in a cosy, quiet space. One day, during a family reunion, Milo finds cousin Henry is hiding in his special space. Like Milo, Henry finds hugs uncomfortable, dislikes loud noises and has a favourite toy that he takes everywhere. A heartwarming story about family and the small changes we can make to accommodate the needs of others.

Watch Roxana De Rond read Milo and Monty:



1, 2, 3 Do the Dinosaur




Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

Published by Egmont

Follow toddler Tom as he teaches you and all his friends exactly how to be a dinosaur. There's a rumble in the jungle and Tom calls all his friends to copy him in as they chomp, slash, swish and roar together. But when they stumbled across a huge hill, they're in for a big, toothy surprise ...

Little ones will love doing the actions and joining in with this fun, interactive story. Michelle Robinson's energetic rhyming text and Rosalind Beardshaw's cheerful, bright illustrations make this a joy to read aloud with toddlers.

Watch Michelle Robinson read 1, 2, 3, Do the Dinosaur:




Don't Go There!

Written by Jeanne Willis

Illustrated by Hrefna Bragadottir

Published by Anderson Press

There must be no toilets in outer space, because this baby martian keeps going in the wrong place: a bird bat, a bin, even a hat! Perhaps if he masters The Toilet Song, he might learn where to go: lid up, pants down, bottom on the seat!


Watch Jeanne Willis Read Don't Go There:




Join us on the blog next week as we share with you the Picture Books ....


Discover More


To discover all the shortlisted titles download our new Recommended Reads Booklet (PDF).

Join the discussion, tell us your favourite over on our social media pages:
Instagram @shefflibraries








Please leave your comments (subject to moderation).

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The story of Peter Raeney, the 'Maniac of Woodseats'

A few years ago, we uncovered the sad story of Peter Raeney of Woodseats who lost both his love and his mind in the early years of the 19th century.  The story unfolds in a detailed account from 1828, held at Sheffield Archives, which was published in local magazine, Active8.  A few years later, a local band, who read the article, wrote and recorded a song called ‘Peter Raeney’ inspired by the sad life story of the tragic character who hid himself away and ‘died for love’.

Raeney, a fine-looking 20-year old, had courted Mary Jones, the daughter of a local landowner.  The couple were due to be married at Dronfield Church but Raeney’s bride-to-be left him standing at the altar, instead marrying another Sheffield man in a different part of the country on the same day.  Raeney returned to the Woodseats hovel which was his family home, tore a hole into the loft, climbed into it and vowed never to leave.  His family took him food but he refused to speak to them.  They left the door open for him each night and, after a while, he would creep down from his hiding place when it was dark and either cover himself with earth or roll in any pool he could find.  According the account from 1828 ‘at last he refused to go out any more and pulled his bed all to pieces; everything which has since been given him for bedding or clothing, he destroys’.

After 14 years, two people travelling from Sheffield to Derby heard about his existence through talking to people at the Freemasons' Arms (now The Big Tree) and they learned where to find ‘the maniac’s dwelling’.  Heading towards Chesterfield, just 200 yards from the inn, they discovered a small croft: ‘A miserable abode of the creature whose wrongs or miseries we sought to enquire’.  They were allowed into the tumble-down building by a widow, but she was reluctant to let them see her son.  At that moment the two visitors noticed something in the loft above: ‘a moan we knew to be human was heard’.  Offering the old woman a few shillings, they were pointed in the direction of a few stone steps which led to a hole in the ceiling.  In the darkness they discovered Peter Raeney, bent double in the loft space wrapped in a ‘foul discoloured sheet’ and covered in a mass of hair.
The visitors describe in great detail the physical and mental state of the man: ‘the lower part of his face was buried in hair… the whole body was in the attitude of an ape sitting..’ The narrator goes on to say: ‘I looked around the miserable loft which contained nothing but the naked body of the poor maniac, the dirty sheet I have spoken of, myself, my friend and the woman who conducted us.  In spite of my appetite for information, I grew physically as well as mentally sick, when, to my surprise and almost horror, the poor wretch who had kept his wild looks almost continually upon us, turned his face to the floor, and said in a tone which smote the heart “I am bound to sleep”.’

The 2,000 word account concludes that ‘Mentally he has died for love.  It cannot be doubted that the falsehood of Mary Jones broke the heart of Peter Raeney’.  Raeney died two years later and was buried at Norton Church in December 1830.

Some years later, after reading this account in Active8 magazine, local songwriter Andy Whitehouse, realised that the Raeney family home must have been very close to his own house at Woodseats.  Taking some of the narrative word for word from the original account he put ‘Peter Raeney’ together and his band, The Silver Darlings, released ‘Peter Raeney’ as a single in 2016.  










Listen to the song here: https://thesilverdarlings.bandcamp.com/track/peter-raeney

The original article can be viewed at Sheffield Archives (reference number: JC/29/21) and a copy can be seen on Picture Sheffield http://tinyurl.com/h3towdt


Monday, September 7, 2020

Sheffield Children's Book Award - Baby Books

The Sheffield Children's Book Award is brought to you by Sheffield Libraries and is a celebration of our favourite children's books of the year! This Award is a way to share with you books that children will love to read, whilst also promoting inclusion, diversity and empathy in great stories.

Right about now we would ordinarily be counting up your votes for this year's shortlisted titles, readying for our ceremony in November, but like many things, Covid-19 has meant a change of plans. Don't fear, the book award is still happening, but we've moved it over to next year where we will hopefully have a bumper double, and most importantly safe, celebration of titles in 2021

However, we still have an exciting bunch of beautiful books that we want to promote and enjoy on this year's shortlist so for the next few weeks we'll be blogging about each category of shortlisted titles and giving you a closer look at each one.

Vote for your Favourite!


Why not read the books for yourself and let us know which is your favourite?
Get a closer look at each title in our Instagram Highlights

Then submit your vote via our online form.

Baby Books


First up, we have the Baby Book category, a selection aimed at engaging our very youngest of readers.



Wake Up, Farm!





Written and illustrated by Jonny Lambert

Published by DK Publishing.





- Lift the flaps to wake up the animals on the farm, and look out for the pop-up surprises! Join the noisy cockerel as he visits pigs, cows and more on a beautiful morning on the farm in this lovely interactive board book. Children will delight in the collage-like illustrations of their favourite farmyard animals, but renowned artist Jonny Lamber and will love joining in with the story as they visit characters one by one. The sturdy board-book format is perfect for little hands and fun pop-ups under flaps will entertain children again and again.


The Happy Snappy Shark





Written and illustrated by Gareth Lucas

Published by Little Tiger Press





- Join happy, snappy crab, speedy shark and sickly octopus in this lively rhyming book, which features a fun pop-up on every page. With board page and heavy-duty board pop-ups, this book is perfect for introducing pop-ups to little ones.


Baby's Very First Sparkly Play Book





Illustrated by Stella Baggott

Designed by Josephine Thompson

Published by Usborne




- A lovely first book to share and talk about with a baby, full of sparkly scenes including a stunning fireworks display, under the sea creatures, fire-breathing dragons and lots more. Babies and toddlers will love following the fingertrails, peeping through the holes and exploring the cut-out shapes on every page.

Join us on the blog next week as we share with you the Toddler Books ....


Discover More


To discover all the shortlisted titles download our new Recommended Reads Booklet (PDF).

Join the discussion, tell us your favourite over on our social media pages:
Instagram @shefflibraries









Please leave your comments (subject to moderation).

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Queer History: Sheffield Men Arrested at Fancy Dress Ball in Manchester in 1880

‘Sheffield is no gay metropolis’ wrote Gay Life magazine in 1987, ‘but don’t make the mistake of believing that a city with no strong overt gay presence cannot make claims to being progressive and exciting’. Writer, Andrew Lowrey, was dispatched to the Steel City with his black leatherette valise to report back on Sheffield’s gay scene. His three-page article concluded that although ‘Sheffield is a bastion of solid working class politics and culture, and suffers from the inevitable heavy machismo which so many northern gays have to cope with… gay Sheffielders are doing more than cope. Rather than being disappointed by the lack of gay activity in Sheffield, I was impressed by how much was happening.’ 

Rewind the clock 100 years and it is fair to say that Sheffield was no gay metropolis then either! However, gay life still carried on behind closed doors and campaigners such as Edward Carpenter were already pushing for gay rights. A recently discovered newspaper article in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent (dated 1 October 1880), headlined ‘Police raid on fancy dress ball in Manchester’ lifts the lid on what some gay Sheffield men did for entertainment in the 1880s. 

It was reported that 47 men (10 of them from Sheffield) had been arrested at a fancy dress ball at the Temperance Hall in Hulme. The men entered the court in ‘gentlemanly attire’ (having been allowed to change prior to the hearing to ‘appear more dignified before the magistrates’) although it was noted that some were very effeminate in appearance and some had their hair dyed in a ‘golden hue’. The names of the Sheffield men were read out: Albert Lomas, (married) teacher of dancing; Charles Speed, silver finisher; Edward Powell, gilder; William Oates, Porter; Nathaniel Saxton, barman; Thomas Whitworth, silversmith; George Bingham, metal dresser; Frederick Richardson, confectioner; Isaac Haslam, shopkeeper; William Frudd, carriage trimmer. They were charged with ‘soliciting and inciting each other to commit an abominable offence’ (the details of which were never made quite clear). 


The police apparently went to great (almost comical) lengths to catch the men up to no good. The men had booked the hall under the false pretence that it was for the Pawnbrokers Assistants Association’s annual ball. Of the 47 men present, 22 were dressed as women. The musical accompaniment for the evening was provided by a blind man who played a harmonium on a small stage and the men ‘danced some kind of strange dance in which they kicked their legs about a great deal’. It was also observed that ‘certain proceedings’ were taking place in an ante-room next to the dancing hall. The police watched the building for three hours, noting that all the windows were covered with blinds and some were steamed up. One of the officers managed to clamber onto an outhouse to get up on the roof of a neighbouring house to get a better view of the dance hall (dislodging a piece of mortar in the process). Some were dressed as men and some as women, he reported, and they were dancing the ‘can can’ dance to quadrille music. Furthermore, he was able to listen in on the ante-room and was shocked to hear the men speaking in feminine tones and calling each other ‘Polly’ and ‘Alice’. After observing proceedings for some time, the officer got down off the roof and went to knock on the front door of the Temperance Hall. He gained admittance by using the password ‘sister’; the door opened and the police raid took place, with every person (except the blind musician) arrested. 

The newspaper article goes into great detail about the cross examinations, and it would appear the court descended into laughter at various points, particularly when the police officer was asked to determine who was wearing trousers and who was not (‘can you be sure they were not theatrical tights?’) After listening to all the evidence, the magistrates retired, returning 15 minutes later and fined each man £25; if any of them could not fine sureties for this sum they were to be imprisoned for three months. 

The case clearly provoked a great deal of interest - the streets around the court were thronged with hundreds of people unable to get into the court on the day and the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent devoted three columns to proceedings. Amusing as this may seem by modern standards, it is a reminder that any public or overt displays of this kind were severely punishable by law. 

For more information on LGBTQ+ history in Sheffield see our Study Guide: https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/libraries-archives/access-archives-local-studies-library/research-guides/lesbian-gay-sources 

See also Steel City Queer History, a Sheffield based group of historians researching and sharing the LGBTQ+ history of the city: https://steelcityqueerhistory.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Service Update

Full details of our Order and Collect service, participating libraries, opening times, and the online order form are now available on our website.

Check our blog's Service Updates section and our Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest updates on reopening.