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Anne Fine was our Guest Editor in July 2011
Anne Fine is a distinguished writer for both adults and children. Her novel Goggle-Eyes won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize as well as Britain’s most coveted award for children’s literature, the Carnegie Medal. She won the Carnegie Medal again for Flour Babies, which also won the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year Award. Among her many other prizes are the Smarties Prize for Bill’s New Frock, a second Whitbread Award for The Tulip Touch, a silver Nestle prize for Ivan the Terrible, and many other regional and foreign awards.
In 1990 and again in 1993 she was voted Publishing News’ Children’s Author of the Year. In 1998, she was the UK nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Adaptations of Bill’s New Frock and Goggle-Eyes have been screened by the BBC and her novel Madame Doubtfire was adapted for film under the title Mrs Doubtfire.
Having written over fifty books for children of all ages, Anne Fine became Children’s Laureate in 2001 and during her two years of office set up the Home Library (free downloadable modern bookplates from www.myhomelibrary.org) and published three classic anthologies of poetry for different age groups, called A Shame to Miss 1, 2 & 3.
Anne Fine has also published eight highly acclaimed novels for adults, including In Cold Domain, All Bones and Lies and Raking the Ashes. The Killjoy won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award and both Taking the Devil’s Advice and Telling Liddy have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Our Precious Lulu is her most recent novel.
Anne Fine’s work has been translated into forty five languages. In 2003 she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded an OBE. Anne has two grown up daughters, and lives in County Durham.
Here is a letter from author, Sarah Forbes to Anne Fine, who visited her home town when she was eight and made a lasting impression.
Dear Anne Fine,
You won’t remember this, but in the late 1980s you visited Stonehaven Library as part of an author tour. Stonehaven is a lovely place: a small seaside resort on the east coast of Scotland near Aberdeen. It has an open-air swimming pool and a ruined castle. These days it’s famous for being the home of the deep-fried Mars bar. (Yes, I have eaten a deep-fried Mars bar. No, that isn’t why I’m writing this.)
I remember your visit vividly because I was an avid, avid reader of your books. You coming to town was like having a famous pop star parachute in for the day. The excitement of having an actual, real author come to speak to us! Someone whose books I could reach out and touch on the library shelves in the children’s section upstairs where you did your event.
For a kid living in a big literary city like Edinburgh or London, meeting authors might not be such a big deal. Authors tend to work hard to promote their books and the ones I know do as many events as they can. But let me tell you, rural Aberdeenshire in the 80s was not a hotbed of literary discovery, and you coming to town meant a lot. I think that was the point when I realized writing could be a career. Maybe one day, I could be a writer too.
Many, many years later, I found myself back in the children’s section of Stonehaven Library promoting my own children’s books. That felt incredibly weird and incredibly lovely all at the same time. I’m excited to say I’ll also be talking to kids about my Elspeth Hart books at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this month. I have so much fun doing my own events, but my favourite part is when I ask if anyone likes writing or wants to be a writer and dozens of hands shoot up. The ideas these kids have are amazing. I wonder if it’s easier to dream your way into becoming a writer when you meet grown-ups who’ve done the same thing?
Either way, I relish every minute of getting to meet my readers, and part of the reason I appreciate it, Anne, is you.
February 2022 Book of the Month | Apparently taking inspiration from the ghostly sightings of wet figures following the 2011 Japanese tsunami, this astonishing and thought-provoking novel examines the impact of loss and grief on individuals and families and upon whole communities. The former Children’s Laureate never writes the same book twice and this is a startlingly original concept: part a dystopian story of a climate affected future, part very creepy ghost story, part coming of age, part an agonisingly accurate portrait of a family under stress and ultimately a philosophical examination of how individuals and society handle death and grief. If this sounds a lot for a relatively slim novel, be reassured that you are in the hands of an expert who writes without a wasted word. For such a thought-provoking book, the action never lets up and holds the reader in a vice like grip. The strange and desolate landscape of the remote and neglected region, to which Louie and his father travel on his routine inspection job, is so vividly evoked that the reader feels every moment of the earthquake, the terrible tsunami and the desolation which follows. The otherness of the Uplander community and how they are treated by the rest of the Federation has a distinct resonance with our own time, but their culture and beliefs evoke echoes of a much more distant past and of a deep-seated universal need for ceremonies, beliefs and customs that help humanity to cope with death. As a reader we share Louie’s cathartic experience and can feel hopeful for his future. This author always takes great care to leave a reader with hope and generally, most definitely so in this case, with a deeper understanding of the human condition. A brilliantly rewarding read. Anne joined The LoveReading LitFest to discuss her powerful book Aftershocks with LoveReading4Schools Editorial Expert, Joy Court. The LoveReading LitFest is a digitally native, all year round, online literature and books festival, with new content released every week is a free-for-all-users festival. You can find a preview of this event and sign up to become a member.
Award-winning author and former Children’s Laureate Anne Fine has a rare gift for revealing family relationships accurately and painfully but with laugh out loud humour. She is at her best unpicking the complicated feelings around family break up and exploring the devious means all parties have of keeping secrets and uncovering the truth. When Scarlet’s dynamic mother decides to leave her quieter father Scarlet has to go with her. Luckily, she can still see her dad at weekends and she still has her best friend Alice to share everything with. Gradually Scarlet finds that there are other people to think about too including her mother’s new boyfriend and the possible new partner for her father. She also finds she has a lot to learn about her parents as individuals as well as in relationship to her. Anne Fine is as full of family insight and humour as ever.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2021 | Award-winning author and former Children’s Laureate Anne Fine has a rare gift for revealing family relationships accurately and painfully but with laugh out loud humour. She is at her best unpicking the complicated feelings around family break up and exploring the devious means all parties have of keeping secrets and uncovering the truth. When Scarlet’s dynamic mother decides to leave her quieter father Scarlet has to go with her. Luckily, she can still see her dad at weekends and she still has her best friend Alice to share everything with. Gradually Scarlet finds that there are other people to think about too including her mother’s new boyfriend and the possible new partner for her father. She also finds she has a lot to learn about her parents as individuals as well as in relationship to her. Anne Fine is as full of family insight and humour as ever.
The three stories in Anne Fine’s new Weird Street collection are guaranteed to send delicious shivers down the spine, even on the hottest summer day. In classic Gothic tradition, the narrative is passed from one storyteller to another: three children, neighbours on Weir (aka Weird) Street share local ghost stories. Laila’s tale has a happy ending, but is just uncanny enough to unsettle us; Asim’s story is both scary and tragic, haunting in every sense; while Tom’s is seriously creepy. Anne Fine is a superb writer and knows just how to turn the psychological screw. Highly readable, the stories will deliver their chills on each re-reading too. Perfect to thrill and chill, and particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 Three young friends pass a sunny day telling each other stories of some of the strange things that have happened in their street, and what stories they are: each one so cleverly constructed, so skilfully told that it builds almost imperceptibly to a climax that will leave readers gasping. The first two stories are genuinely chilling and dark, fortunately the final story takes us back into the sunshine, and a happy ending, if a distinctly uncanny one. Anne Fine is one of our most brilliant authors for children and these stories, simple and super-readable as their sticker says, will stay with readers for far longer than the time it takes to read them. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Interest Age 5-8 Anne Fine is a very clever writer and this brilliant little story is an exploration of the resources of the human imagination and the iniquities of keeping animals in cages. Hugo is trying to persuade his dad to let him have a gerbil. When Hugo argues that the gerbil would be happy in its cage, his dad challenges him to spend seven hours alone in his newly painted bedroom with just a plate of food and three toys to occupy him. Hugo accepts, entering his room at 12.00pm. By 12.31pm he’s bored of the toys. By 12.44pm he’s eaten the biscuits. By 1.03pm he’s dreaming of escape and by 1.29pm feeling the full weight of captivity he’s arguing with himself. At 2.47pm he makes a break for the garden and freedom. Sharp and very funny, this will get readers thinking. ~ Andrea Reece About the Little Gems series: Little Gems are in a gorgeous new chunky format, with high-spec production including coloured endpapers and jacketed flaps with activities. Additional features include high quality cream paper, Barrington Stoke font and illustrations on every page. They are perfect for 5-8's. These quality stories promote good reading practice for all newly independent readers. High quality cream paper and a special easy to read font ensure a smooth read for all.
One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2015 - Interest Age 5-8 Reading Age 5+ | Hetty, a little grey earthworm, is spellbound when she sees a glow-worm. She longs to have a glowing little light in her body too so that she can light the way home, or find lost things in dark corners, or read all night under the bedclothes. Her parents explain it’s impossible and console her with cuddles and gingerbread stars, but Hetty is determined and, thanks to a somewhat distracted wizard, gets her glow. Anne Fine has created a lovely little fairy tale with a resolute hero, rewarded for her hard work and honesty. Perfect bedtime reading, made even more special thanks to its glow-in-the-dark cover!
Everyone thinks they know what it's like, going to school. But have you ever wondered what life must be like at a boarding school? A school for young offenders? A school for the blind? With her trademark humour, insight, sensitivity and razor-sharp wit, Anne Fine explores these different worlds in a short story collection that will fascinate young readers.
What do you miss when you don't have siblings? This book aims to find out through a brilliant story of friendship between 3 only kids but acting like siblings; including the good and bad things about having to compete or share with a brother or sister. It is a perfectly observed story of human behaviour and one in which they realise before long there's a definite upside to being an 'only'. Written by an award-winning author with an international reputation who is a long-established UK favourite. Anne Fine has a gift for recognizing and conveying the subtleties of children's desires and emotions.
Interest Age 7-12 Reading Age 7+ Award-winning Anne Fine always writes brilliantly about annoying family members. Ian’s Uncle Ron has a habit of just turning up on the doorstep with a big suitcase. No one knows how long he will stay but while he’s in the house he talks a lot to his spirit friends from ‘the other side’. Ian’s Mum and Dad don’t have many ideas about how to get rid of him so now it is Ian’s turn to find a solution. His newly arrived neighbour Hetty is the perfect accomplice for a cunning plan which sees Uncle Ron leaving for more quickly than had been expected. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 7+