Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin review – moving story of a child migrant

The team behind the graphic novel versions of Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series change direction with this very real and affecting tale

Writers Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin and illustrator Giovanni Rigano created the graphic novel adaptations of Colfer’s classic fantasy action series, Artemis Fowl. With Illegal, they turn to the here and now and have created a deeply affecting and thought=provoking account of the 21st-century refugee experience.

A kind of documentary fiction, the book weaves real stories of migration into the tale of Ebo, a spirited, motherless 12-year-old from Niger who follows his older brother from his hopeless village to the city of Agadez, where traffickers take them across the Sahara to Tripoli. Here, the boys again put their lives in the hands of nefarious men, who grant them space on a boat heading for to Italy. The story comes alive in the details: at his lowest ebb, Ebo ...

Dealing with monsters: why adults need kids books now more than ever | Kat Patrick

In a turbulent world, it’s helpful to have places like Alice’s Wonderland where the grown-up world is refracted, not reflected

• What are some of your favourite kids’ books to re-read as an adult? Let us know in the comments

As the majority of the so-called adults in charge across the globe begin to mirror the villains I grew up reading about, I find myself going back through old, worn favourites as well as buying plenty of new releases that help keep me sane. Kids’ literature, after all, is probably the best place to look for advice on dealing with monsters. I don’t know where I’d be without them.

Related: Scrumdiddlyumptious! My Roald Dahl top 10

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Writing women into The Wind in the Willows revitalises the canon

Making imaginative room for another sex in this much-loved classic opened up its world to me

I grew up in a very small town in Iowa in the 60s, where the library was a single, graceful room with a golden oak circulation desk, which overlooked everything but a lone bookcase packed with the complete American Heritage backlist. Books were divided into children’s, mysteries, science fiction, romance, biography, science, nonfiction (we didn’t have rarefied arcana like history or current events). “New Acquisitions” were whatever had been dropped off recently: old Agatha Christies, accidentally ordered Book of the Month Club selections, agricultural yearbooks from the 1950s.

I read them all. Once I finished the children’s section, I started at the upper left-hand corner of the first bookcase (mysteries), and proceeded methodically. This made for some highly age-inappropriate choices, as when I waded through the Decameron aged 10. I read everything the same ...

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai review – an enchantingly light touch

The human rights campaigner strikes just the right balance in her first picture book, which relates the story of her childhood with a magical optimism

It must be a tricky business writing for young children about human rights: too heavy-handed and your work has an excessively moralising air, too heartfelt and it sounds schmaltzy. Having captured the world’s attention as a schoolgirl blogger under Taliban rule in Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai knows a thing or two about striking the right tone.

Her debut picture book, an autobiographical tale about her childhood and how she became a global campaigner for educational rights, immediately draws the reader in with the opener: “Do you believe in magic?” To an audience well-acquainted with stories featuring magic beans and genies in lamps, Yousafzai explains that as a child she desired a magic pencil that could solve problems large and small, from erasing war to creating a ...

Dr Seuss racism row escalates over illustration of Chinese man

The Massachusetts museum dedicated to the children’s author has agreed to remove a mural showing one his early pictures, prompting charges of political correctness

The Dr Seuss Museum in Massachusetts has become embroiled in an escalating fight over an 80-year-old Seuss illustration of an Asian man, which culminated at the weekend in the local mayor condemning complaints about the picture as “political correctness at its worst”.

On Friday, author and illustrator Mo Willems announced that he and two other authors – Lisa Yee and Mike Curato – would no longer be appearing at a scheduled event at the museum in Seuss’s hometown of Springfield, due to a mural that included a “jarring racial stereotype of a Chinese man who is depicted with chopsticks, a pointed hat and slanted slit eyes”.

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Tim Minchin: ‘The world feels a bit post-jokes’

The comedian-composer on his children’s book, Australia’s same-sex marriage vote and why he’s glad to be leaving Hollywood

Australian composer and comedian Tim Minchin, 42, was born in Northampton but raised in his parents’ native Perth. After an award-winning comedy career, he wrote the music and lyrics for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s global hit musical Matilda, followed by the stage musical adaptation of Groundhog Day. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Sarah, a social worker, and their two children.

Tell us about your new children’s book, When I Grow Up, which is based on the lyrics of the song from Matilda.
It’s awesome – I didn’t even have to do anything [laughs]. That’s the incredible thing about Matilda, it keeps manifesting itself in different ways. It’s profoundly gratifying to have something else beautiful put into the world that was sparked by something you wrote eight years ago.

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Tim Minchin: ‘The world feels a bit post-jokes’

The comedian-composer on his children’s book, Australia’s same-sex marriage vote and why he’s glad to be leaving Hollywood

Australian composer and comedian Tim Minchin, 42, was born in Northampton but raised in his parents’ native Perth. After an award-winning comedy career, he wrote the music and lyrics for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s global hit musical Matilda, followed by the stage musical adaptation of Groundhog Day. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Sarah, a social worker, and their two children.

Tell us about your new children’s book, When I Grow Up, which is based on the lyrics of the song from Matilda.
It’s awesome – I didn’t even have to do anything [laughs]. That’s the incredible thing about Matilda, it keeps manifesting itself in different ways. It’s profoundly gratifying to have something else beautiful put into the world that was sparked by something you wrote eight years ago.

Continue reading...